I brought back an old, tired, ‘Eau de Cologne’ mint plant from Plot #59 yesterday. The pot is disintegrating and is destined for crocks, and the plant itself – which isn’t in a good condition at all – is likely to end up in the compost. Before that happens though, I’ve decided to take a trio of cuttings of slightly different types so see which, if any of them, takes and performs noticeably better.
In this highly unscientific experiment, I’ve put the propagules into pots of gritty seed compost. In one (top-right), a bare stem with no established roots or shoots. In another (middle), a rooted stem with a small amount of leaf already established. In the third (on the left), a couple of quite well-rooted stems, with a slightly larger amount of leaf. Mint is hardy enough, so they’ve been left in the unheated greenhouse, rather than the heated propagator indoors.
Theoretically, the leafier stems should be able to photosynthesise straight away and use the energy to produce more root and stem material, establishing quickly. Then again, they’ll also be losing moisture by transporation and evaporation from the leaf surfaces and using up their internal energy stores; it’s a race between the processes to see which one wins out. At the other end of the scale, the bare stem will need to use its stored energy to produce root, shoot and leaf material, but shouldn’t be losing much moisture at all. So it might take longer, but could establish a stronger plantlet in the long run.
It’ll be interesting to see whether there are any noticeable differences between the hare and tortoise approach. Although of course I’d need to set up a larger sample to establish any sort of definite pattern.
Edit, 17.05.17 I’ve posted a quick one-month-on update if anyone would like to see how these cuttings are doing.