A Concept About Rooting And Rot

Nan's Nook : Archives : Botanicals : Cactus : San Pedro : Growing San Pedro : Rooting San Pedro

Posted by: Driador Jul 04 03, 12:54 PM GMT
As some of you know, I've had a few issues getting my san pedro cuttings (3) to root properly. The first time I was a complete newbie and had the end of one specimen placed too far into the soil, which caused it to rot. So I started over by cutting off the rotted end and letting it scab over. The second case I'm not sure as to the exact reason for the rot (but it was the same specimen that had contracted it before). In both of these cases no roots had developed. The third case was on another specimen that, upon uprooting, I noticed it had actually started to send roots out. It appeared to me that the rot had found a vector in through a smaller root that had died. Either way, the rot was there. That one has since been cleaned up and is now sitting on top of one of my monitors scabbing up. On the other hand, one specimen that I have has no rot whatsoever, and appears to be rooted quite well now.

Among these examples, the third case worries me the least, as the cacti had actually started to develop roots. My main concern then was getting it to root without developing rot. After talking with a few people, it was suggested that I try rooting the cacti in a pot of pre-moistened perlite. I got to thinking on top of this, why not add a little coir in there for stability (that way I don't have to worry about the cutting falling over, or being buried too deep). Say, one part coir to 2 parts perlite. My reasons for choosing coir was because I know that it has a tendency to dry out fairly quickly, which seemed ideal to me when it comes to the problem at hand. Less sitting moistuire equals less chance of rot (or so it appears to me). Once the cutting has sent out roots, it would then be removed from the perlite/coir mix and then be transplanted to a mix of Nan's soil. I'm also debating whether or not to try Ion and Voodoo's construction paper trick.

Any thoughts or suggestions so far? biggrin.gif

Posted by: Nanook Jul 04 03, 07:38 PM GMT
As far as I am concerned... whatever works:  This is how I usually root them

For me Pedro roots so reliably I never think twice about rot. It does happen but I see it in far less than 10% of the cuttings I root.  When rot strikes you must cut it off, and you must check the cut to make sure you got it all.  Rot travels up the pith core of the cacti and if you see a brown pith thread, you need to cut further up.  All traces of bottom rot must be removed before attempting to re-root. With that said...

I try to root cuttings no more than 18 inches tall, I set them no more than 2 inches deep, and I keep the top of the pot (not the bottom) damp (not wet). How? Spray enough water to moisten the surface, not soak the pot, and spray lightly and frequently. Damp, not wet. Casing moisture levels are too wet for rooting cacti.

With that out of the way... You can root Pedro with a "no fail" sterile sand tek (I use with small difficult globular cacti that have weak root systems and I rooted my first Pedro this way).

Get a tray, container, pot, something with a drain hole... About the size of a cookie tin is perfect. It needs to hold 2 inches of sterile sand.

Sanitize the base and the bottom two inches of the cacti to be rooted with iodine solution with a drop of liquid soap. Set the cacti on dry sterile sand, right on the surface, and prop it in place so it will not tip or fall. Push up some sand around the base to block off light to the bottom 1/2 inch or so... But do not bury  the cacti into the sand, just push some sand up around it.

Use a spray mister around the bottom of the cactus once a day to tease out roots. Just mist the surface of the sand around the base until dampened once or twice a day. After 2 weeks lift the cacti out of the sand and look at the base, you should see root nodes developing. Once nodes appear you can water the sand once or twice, but once rooting has started you should pot the cacti up.

No way cacti is going to rot with this tek.

Posted by: Driador Jul 04 03, 07:53 PM GMT
Awesome! Thanks Nan. I might just try that if the perlite trick dosen't work. Either way, I'll keep folks posted on how it goes smile.gif

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