This article includes both still photos and a movie.
When potting small plants it’s easy to make the mistake of potting them too deeply or fertilizing them with the wrong kind of fertilizer. Or even using a poor grade of potting soil.
In this example I am potting a rooted cutting which is basically a stick with roots. In this example I have filled the pot with potting soil, leaving only 2″ from the top of the soil the the top of the pot. Yes, the roots of the cutting really are that close to the top of the pot because you don’t want much more than one inch of soil over the roots.
In the video you’ll see how and why I not only trimmed the top of this rooted cutting but I also trimmed the roots. It’s better to trim the roots, especially on a dormant cutting, than it is to bunch up the roots under the cutting. Once the roots are trimmed it’s easy to fan them out over the soil in the pot then cover with more potting soil.
When I put the soil in the container over the roots, not only do I fill the pot completely to the top, but I pack the soil in tightly so very little settling can take place. Once potted we apply a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote 14-14-14. Regular garden fertilizer, even if it says 14-14-14 on the bag, will kill your potted plants almost instantly!
Be sure to watch the short movie because I show you how to prune the rooted cuttings before potting and explain it all in more detail.
There you have it, the correct way to pot rooted cuttings, nursery stock liners and other small plants.
My “Awesome Potting Soil Recipe” can be found here.
Me Swapping Spit with a Donkey? That’s here.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I will respond.
Dorothy Foster says
re the air propagator .com… will not come up on my computer… says it is an unsecure site…
You can find similar items on amazon.
Nita Pickering says
I took some cuttings off of a spice bush I have and am attempting to propagate them with the sand method. This is my first attempt any propagation method. It has been a couple of weeks, and the leaves are still green. What I don’t know is how long do I leave them in the sand before they develop roots and when I should transplant them?
If the leaves are still green that’s good. It could take them many weeks to root. Just be patient and transplant them in the fall.
Oh, Mike, you do such a good job of teaching! My problem is that I have looked everywhere to find how to plant a liner or plug plant or rooted cutting still in soil. I have tried the traditional putting them in a bigger pot and often they don’t make it. Should I shake all the soil off and do it the way you do even if the plant is actively growing? Is the problem that I am using regular potting soil, because I often buy nursery plants in regular soil. How do they get it to work, but I don’t? Give it your best guess please.
You are really over thinking this. Don’t shake off the soil. If your plants are failing after potting . . .
1. You are potting them too deep, there should only be one inch of soil over the roots.
2. they are drying out after potting.
3. You are over fertilizing with the wrong fertilizer.
4. The potting soil that you are using is horrible and probably doesn’t drain well. Even then, they should still survive but not thrive.
There is some basic step that have wrong.
Thank you, thank you! At least I have some ideas….now to investigate.
I found where you planted a rooted cutting a plug. I am posting here in case anyone else is as beginner as I am.
kevin ryan says
What is best way to winter over 1 year old cuttings in 6″pots. Could I bury them in my raised beds for the winter or is small hoop house a better idea. I live a few miles south of Lake Michigan.
I think either option is fine as long as they stay moist but not soaking wet.
I cannot find where to buy that rooting gismo for plants like tree limbs. My neighbor has a cherry tree that is alot on my side of the fence and I would love to get that gismo you once talked about. Thanks. I hope you can figure out which gismo I’m looking for.
Anthony Bixenman says
Hi ya Mikes nursery! I planted a dozen 6 in rose cuttings in February
And wrapped container in its own green house and it’s April 8 now. The cutting all have
4.5.and 6 new buds where branches are gonna grow from .I’M IN Need to know when I can transplant
In yard / or separate Potts .is it to early ? Should I wait another month ? Or even ayear?.
The issue is the new rooted cuttings are all in same container with ot but inch or two between each.??H E L P.
Probably too soon. Buds doesnt’ mean that the cuttings have roots. They’ll often bud first, then make roots. Probably mid summer, that’s the earliest we touch our hardwood cuttings done over the winter.
mark palmer says
I live in ontario and went to lowes and home depot but they didn’t have osmocote 14 14 14, do you know were else I can find it?….thanks
I know that Walmart sometimes carries it. In the http://backyardgrowers.com/join area we have sources for large quantities for members of the trade. There are also other brands that I can’t get into here.