Gardening--Propagation case and starting cuttings in potatoes : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I almost never post here but I do read the threads every day or two. I would like to share some success I have had in starting cuttings, and ask a question about another method of starting cuttings. The question first; I read in the current issue of Country Living Gardener magazine about a method of starting cuttings that dates from the 1850's. It was just a short paragraph, not very detailed, but it stated that one could take a small potato, cut a hole in it large enough to slip a cutting into, and once the cutting was inserted in the potato, the potato was planted in the garden or a container. I have never heard of this and was curious to see if anyone had heard of this or perhaps done it themselves?

About the propagation case; in an excellent book titled Secrets of Plant Propagation, the author describes the construction of propagation cases, including using an old aquarium with glass or plastic for the top. I usually take a lot of hardwood cuttings and it usually takes about three months for them to root outdoors this time of year. I dragged out an old 10 gal. aquarium I had and put about 2" of good potting soil in the bottom (NOT a soilless mix!), about 2" of perlite on top of that, and about 3" of a perlite/vermiculite mix on top of that, and then wet it thoroughly but not to the point of saturation. I took cuttings of figs, pomagranates, geraniums, shrub roses, altheas, and Chinese Fringe bush. I dipped the ends in rooting hormone, poked a hole in the planting medium with a pencil, inserted the cuttings (I got about 50 cuttings in the 10 gal. aquarium) and firmed the soil. I then put tin foil over the top to hold in humidity, and put it on the floor under the kitchen table. It did receive some sunlight thru the patio door, and I don't know if that helped or hurt, but in just a little over a month, the figs, altheas, and Chinese fringe bush are rooted. The rest are still green and have formed callus tissue over the cut ends, which usually indicates that roots will form very soon, so I"m still watching them. It has taken about one third of the time to root these as it does outdoors, and of the cuttings that have rooted, being the figs, altheas, and Chinese fringe, there is 100% success.

Just thought some of y'all might like to try this method. I'll be doing it again next year!

-- Hannah Maria Holly (, February 13, 2001


i remember the terrariums my ma used to have.pretty sure she put rocks or even marbles on the very bottom of the tank to help with drainage.just a thought.

-- fred in wi (, February 14, 2001.

Hi Hannah..I tried rooting a rose cutting in a potato..the instructions said to place the potato in a dark place so I figured what could be darker than a closet?? It failed miserably. I think the idea was that the cutting would draw its moisutre from the potato. I think I will try that aquarium set-up though.

-- Lynn(MO) (, February 14, 2001.

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