One especially rewarding aspect of the opportunity that I have been given by Hormex is to communicate directly with those who use the products by answering their questions. This week I am bringing two of their issues to this blog so everyone can benefit. If you haven’t explored the propagation methods described here, you can expand your rooting horizons by trying them.
When you get into propagation, you can literally watch growth happen and some methods make that easier than others. Two recent questions asked about using Hormex products in aeroponic cloners and rooter pots. One reader has recently switched from rooting in perlite to using a device that suspends cuttings in a mist bath. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, I promise. With a simple web search, you can learn more about aeroponic cloners and their principles, view manufactured products and videos, and find DIY designs for those who are handy. After I saw one at a hydroponic herb farm used to root rosemary and learned how efficient it was, I became a fan of the technology. The farmers grow a variety of herbs to harvest and package for grocery stores, and hydroponics gives them advantages in both space and cleanliness. They had a huge mother plant of rosemary but had trouble producing it quickly enough to keep up with their customers’ demands until they tried this soilless propagation method. This reader wanted to know about application rates for using Liquid Hormex Concentrate in the device.
Aeroponic cloning machines expose the base of cuttings to a fine mist so the roots are never exposed to soil. The process creates an ideal root system for hydroponics and for many kinds of cuttings to pot up. You fill the container with water almost, but not quite, up to the bottom of the cut stems and a pump system delivers mist to the chamber to promote rooting. There are 2 ways to use Liquid Hormex Concentrate with these clever devices. One is to dip each cutting into undiluted LHC for 3-5 minutes before placing them into the rooting pots and the second is to add LHC to the water. Yes, you can do both. The rate the reader is using is roughly equivalent to ½ teaspoon in the 6 gallon tank, or slightly less than the rate suggested for use as a transplanting drench (1 tsp/5 gal). I suggested that he increase that amount to 1 teaspoon in the 6 gallon tank.
Another reader will be using rooter pots, devices that can speed up and improve upon the classic air layer technique to clone plants. He asks about choosing Hormex Rooting Powder strength to best root a range of different fruit plants: apple, peach, pear, plum, nectarine, and cherry trees plus grapes, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and aronia or chokeberry bushes.
Rooter Pots work very well to clone trees and berry bushes, too, if they are stout enough to support the device. I first saw them used in an arboretum to propagate a fiddle-leaf fig tree that had grown too large for its space. By using the pots, docents were able to produce clones of this favorite tree for their benefit sale in advance of the necessary pruning. I’ll confess the cup-shaped rooters nestled among the huge fiddle-shaped leaves looked like something in a sci-fi movie, maybe the jewelry a robot would wear! The metal or plastic pots open up completely to enable you to enclose a section of stem while it is still attached to the tree. They hold a lightweight soil mix and have holes for drainage once they are closed around the stem. You keep them watered and open them for inspection after a few weeks to watch the progress. Once the roots are plentiful and long enough, it is time to cut the stem below the rooter, open it up and pot up the new tree or shrub. Rooter pots do require you to wound the stems by stripping a band of bark off to promote rooting from that site. The use of Hormex Rooting Powder to coat the bare stem will greatly increase its ability to make roots and the strength to use depends on the plant being cloned. For fruit trees and berry bushes with woody stems, use HRP #8 in rooter pots and find other specifics about strengths and species elsewhere on this site.
Please keep asking questions!