Cuttings & How to Root Them

How easy are stone fruit to root?

The only way I have seen that works is a girdled air layer. I myself have not tried. But I have wanted to. A former member who passed away developed a technique using wire to girdle to induce rooting hormones in the tree. It worked!


Upgrading my setup.


Woke up to even more moister issues going to adjust the bags. to have more headroom and drain the pans.

I have currant and viburnum cuttings in water, in soil, in shade, in sun, some with hormone and some without. Some in house in window, most outside in the heat/cold. Looks like a high percentage of all of them are going to take.

I like wrapping figs in buddy tape to root as when using a dome or plastic bag the leaves have to be acclimated to the dry house air else they will all wilt and fall off. Using buddy tape or parafilm they grow in the dry air and no acclimation is needed.
I just took this photo, many are ready to be put in soil.


I am having trouble controlling humidy. The bags are touching the taller cuttings and the leaves are starting to rot. I took the bags off too soon and my pomegranate cuttings suffered. Luma’s even worse. New container helps. I was able to unbag the poms.

Upgrade 2


You should have your pots inside a tray. Let’s say a tray for now with side walls but w/o drainage. Then below that you should have something too w/o holes and side walls.

What you don’t want is to water the plants each time you add water to bring up humidity within a humidity chamber such as your clear rubbermaid.

The plastic containers that hamburger or meat from the grocery store come in work perfect for the size rubbermaid that you’re showing (2nd photo).

For the big rubbermaids like (photo 1) of yours, a large cafeteria tray below and then these flats for your pots are what I use:
your pots go in this

your pots and flats go in this next

And for anyone needing help, these are the pots I use but you should shop around, especially eBay:

Also, @lordkiwi reflective insulation between your heat mat (under and above) will buffer some of that intense heat. If you have a thermostat for your mat/mats, then turn it down. Those things are way too hot on their own. I am aware that the directions written on the heat mat say not to cover them but I’ve been doing it 20-years with the same 20-year mats. An old man told me how to do this, that long-ago.

For 4’ of shop lights, (2) cafeteria trays are needed, (2) heavy duty trays, and 42 Anderson band pots, plus, (2) large, clear & see thru rubbermaids. (see above about drilling holes in rubbermaids & more).




To acclimatize your cuttings to the ambient humidity, you need to gradually allow more air into their environment. You can start by snipping a small hole in the corner of a bag. A few days later you can enlarge the hole. Repeat until the bag environment is close to ambient. As I used plastic lids, I’ll prop up one corner to allow some air exchange and then I’ll gradually raise the lid until I can remove it completely.

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I use the same process for every bag I cut for individual-grafting. I cut off the side, top, corners. I never make a slit in the middle of the top of the bag because water will accumulate wherever holes are and that would be a drip right onto your cuttings (or) graft. I bagged conifer-grafts for, forever…

On the two sides of each bag I make a one inch slit more towards the bottom of the bag but where it will be at the area of directly across from the cutting where it stands. I often use vinyl window blind pieces I cut into various ranges to prop up each bag; I put (4) in each pot so there’s no way any bag will fall onto the cutting.

All the moisture accumulates at the top two corners of each bag(s).

Quart bags are mainly what I use. Nearly 100% of the time. If you need to use a Gallon bag, make a longer than 1" slit on the sides.


I’ve been using crates for a few years to get fig cuttings going. One crate to hold the containers, and one crate over top for about 60% shade. Then agribon over top of that at first to bring up the humidity, then the crates come off on cloudy humid stretches of weather. Misting semi daily, watering about once a week. I wrap in parafilm, but get much better results this way rather than putting them directly into the sun, if they are uncovered and start to wilt, the crates go back on.

This was a few weeks ago.


Thank. I have not yet reinstalled the heat mats since the basement is starting to heat up and when I leave the door open it gets even warmer.

All of the containers rest inside there lids inside the Rubbermaid container but could defiantly use a better water management.

The poms are stable in the dome the damage below is from taking the bags off and going fresh air cold turkey

@Drew51 I was not nearly as meticulous as you. But most of my fig cuttings are showing roots like this. and most have been out of there bags for a could of days exposed to open air. I figured the leaves will recover give the roots. But There is that one in the back thats barely doing anything. Tinyest bit of bud showing on one but no sign or root growth. Should I bag it and give it heat again?

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I would bag it. I have found a few that responded, but some barely responded, and hung on for months before giving in. This year I had one that was doing great, up potted was doing well then all the leaves died. It was slow to take water. I changed the soil. I cut the dying leaves off, but left the green stem that grew. I suspected the root rot fungus. The roots were two colors, I suspect alive and dead. After the new soil I watered it with 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide. The soil bubbled up! I had to hold it in place. Bizarre! I have never saved a plant that goes bad like this before. Three weeks later it’s growing new leaves. It still though is stressed. I’m watching closely.
Something went wrong with both of our cuttings. From a bad freeze damaged cutting to root rot. Figuring out why is difficult. Maybe use different rooting material. Careful with the transition to open air. I avoid it by using parafilm. Eliminating any need for low humidity acclimation. I lost a few trying to get them used to dry air. So I skip that now. The parafilm keeps a constant humidity on the cutting. The leaves really do not need it. In humid areas this method may cause mold under the parafilm. Nothing works everyplace all the time.
I would ween them , don’t go cold turkey. Change rooting media on the problem cutting. Fresh media or even a different media.

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that’s my 1st thought, too.

best regards,


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@Barkslip no problem with metal trays? The heat mat is between cardboard and the tray now.

Nah, metal is fine. Looking good Carroll.

Be sure you have the plants off the tray when you add water to humidify any domes/tenting humidity chamber(s). When I bag stuff I put the pots on something between the pot and the tray so the pots don’t get watered. The other way is to use your metal tray and put a 1020 tray w/o drainage holes on it so you can water the plants separate of adding your water to increase humidity to the dome.


For adding extra humidity I like to add a layer of perlite on the bottom of my tote with a clear lid. Then you can water the pots as needed and add water to the perlite without it getting wicked up by the soil. For added stability I cut a piece of egg crate ceiling tile plastic to fit in the bottom for the pots to sit on. Clear lidded totes are kind of hard to find though.


That’s certainly interesting, Travis!

It’s amazing what people come up with, at-times.

No wicking to the soil is the whole principle here. And what you’re doing is certainly, different. I’d watch for algae and @lordkiwi should also keep her metal trays extra clean or I believe algae will grow on them, correct or incorrect, I’m asking?

Algae turn to gooey blobs and perlite turns black from algae so I’m trying to say something about that, guys.

Thank you, Travis.


I am starting to see algae growth. Has anyone tried aquarium algaecides?

too much moisture, first, i didn’t mention that, sorry. next, on soil just use peroxide or trays, I think … thinking about it now.

too much moisture Carroll to either cuttings (soil they’re in) or too much moisture to the walls is being accumulated and is encouraging the algae growth to metal tray.

Would be interesting to find experiments that show what temperature works best for what species when rooting. Ive found that some varieties callus and root fine at lower temps, like 65f, but others wont callus at all until you get temps that are in the mid 70s. Higher temps seem to cause more issues with drying out or bacteria so lower is better IMO, downside seems to be that it takes more time…