Tag: propagation

A Quick Mint-Cuttings Experiment – Conclusion

Back in April and May I posted about three different mint cuttings that I’d taken from an old ‘Eau de Cologne’ mint plant that I wanted to propagate.

Here are the original cuttings again, for reference:

April 2017 mint cuttings
Various amounts of stem, root and leaf left on the propagules, to see which, if any, perform better.

All three cuttings have grown strongly in the nearly three months since they were taken and potted.

July 2017 mint cutting

This cutting was taken mostly bare stem, with a small amount of leaf, seen at the bottom of the original pic. The main stem has developed really nicely, there are several leafy side-shoots developing, and runners have begun to colonise the edges of the pot as the plant seeks to expand its territory. All signs of a healthy mint plant.

July 2017 mint cutting

This cutting was originally taken as a length of bare stem only, seen top right in the original pic. Again, once main stem has grown well and started sending out both side shoots and runners to extend its reach around the pot. Growth hasn’t been quite as vigorous as it was for the plant that started off with a little extra leaf on it as well.

July 2017 mint cutting

Finally, this cutting was one that was taken with a couple of decent-sized leaf clusters attached and it seems to have performed the best of the three. Growth is strong on two main stems, and a strong runner has circled a third of the inside of the pot and sent up another vertical stem.

To conclude this brief and not-very-scientific-at-all observation: it seems as though the best way to take mint cuttings might be to trim a length of stem that has one or two leafy nodes already in growth, rather than just a bare length of stem, but the latter method clearly works just fine as well. This does make some sense: the leaves will provide energy through photosynthesis that the cutting can use to establish its new roots.

On the other hand, if the cuttings were taken at a different time of year, the rate of moisture loss from the leaves might have depleted the cutting’s stores before it could take, and killed it. And of course, this conclusion doesn’t take into account all the various and sundry factors that could have affected the relative growth of these three particular plants, such as the possibility that predation – they all look a little slug-bitten in places – could have held them back at times. But it was an interesting little test to run.

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A Quick Mint-Cuttings Experiment – Update

About a month ago I posted details of – well, not really an experiment, more an observation – of three different mint cuttings that I’d taken and potted up. As a few people were interested enough to comment, I thought I’d post a quick follow-up.

Here are the original cuttings – all taken at the same time from the same stock plant, an ‘Eau de Cologne’ mint – for reference:

April 2017 mint cuttings
Various amounts of stem, root and leaf left on the propagules, to see which, if any, perform better.

All three cuttings have shown signs of new growth:

May 2017 mint cutting - leafy stem

This first pot was the one at the bottom of the first pic. As you can see, the existing growth has increased dramatically (and it’s picked up a few greenhouse whitefly or aphid passengers…) but there hasn’t been any new growth from elsewhere along the stem. It seems that the apical dominance of the growing tip has ensured that one node continues to grow, and others are being suppressed.

May 2017 mint cutting - bare stem

In contrast, this pot was originally the bare-stem cutting (top-right, original pic). As you can see, three new growth points have developed at nodes along the stem and are developing at varying rates. I’d expect that they’d all eventually continue to develop to roughly the same size.

May 2017 mint cuttings - assorted leaf

Here (originally the top-left pot) there are two different growth patterns, a mixture of the above. On one cutting the two existing leafy growths have developed. One the other the original (very small) leaf growth has died back and two new ones have developed instead.

Interesting, no? I’ll keep an eye on all three pots and see if the situation changes.

Edit: For an alternate and soilless take on rooting mint cuttings, see Mal’s Edinburgh Allotment Blog.

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A Quick Mint-Cuttings Experiment

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.

April 2017 mint cuttings
Varying amounts of stem, root and leaf left on these propagules.

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.

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We Have Germination! The Chillis Are Coming…

Always one of my favourite moments of the growing season: the appearance of the first seedlings of the year. A small start, but so much promise of harvests to come.

Here we have germination from seven of the twelve cayenne chilli seeds that I sowed on January 26th. They’re about three days above-ground in this pic, which means they germinated in around (does sums in head…) ten days in our Vitopod heated propagator.

Chilli Seedlings are go!
First up: Capsicum annuum var. cayenne

As you can see, I’ve taken them out of said heated unit (seven plants should be more than enough) and transferred them to a vented, un-heated propagato: just a lid on top of a standard seed tray, on our north-west-facing kitchen window-sill.

Two reasons for doing so: firstly to (hopefully) avoid these seedlings from damping off in the humid atmosphere, and secondly so I could whack up the heat in the Vitopod to 24°C in order to give the three slower-germinating varieties of chilli – pot black, prairie fire and habanero / scotch bonnet – a bit of a boost. (It worked, by the way, as there are now tiny seedlings showing in all three trays).

Once the cayenne seedlings are large enough to safely handle, I’ll prick them out and pot them up in individual small pots of compost, then pot them on again a time or two and move them to the greenhouse, before deciding on their final growing position. I suspect that the three-pot Chilligrow planter will be reserved for the more interesting varieties, depending on how they do, so these cayenne might end up in pots in the greenhouse, or wall-baskets in a sunny spot somewhere.

I’ll post more pics and updates as things develop.

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