Rooting Cuttings

Nan's Nook : Archives : Botanicals : Cactus : San Pedro : Growing San Pedro : Rooting Cuttings
Posted by: Samsara Jan 06 03, 04:33 AM GMT
Ok, I just ordered three 6" San Pedro cuttings from bouncing bear. When they arive, I plan to put them in the growroom with my weed, which runs on a 24 hour light cycle right now w/ 400 watts of fluros. Nan, I read your whole thing on rooting and growing San Pedro, but will my cuttings be ok to root in a room with 24 hours of fairly intense light, temps up at 80 or so and humidity between 20 and 30 percent? Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Nanook Jan 06 03, 10:53 AM GMT
They need 6-8 hours of dark in order to metabolize the stored energy accumulated during the light period. Cacti have a unique photosynthetic process among plants. Energy is captured during the day, but is held in a temporary chemical bond until it gets dark.

Once it is dark, cacti open their stomates (they do not breath during the light cycle to prevent loss of water), they complete the photosynthetic process, absorbing C02, making sugar, and transpiring O2... That part only happens in the dark in cacti.

Soooo... 24 hours straight light is not going to be healthy.


Posted by: Samsara Jan 06 03, 11:05 AM GMT
Ok well thanks alot for that info, I'm glad I asked first and didn't slaughter them. I guess I will just change the light cycle to 18/6. Will the be ok with 12 hours light, 12 hours dark because I have to switch to flowering for my weed in a month or two? Thanks alot for all the great info Nan and Malformed.

Posted by: Nanook Jan 06 03, 11:07 AM GMT
12/12 is fine

Posted by: Samsara Jan 06 03, 11:09 AM GMT
Cool, thanks again everyone and I hope I can keep my San Pedro alive! wink.gif

Posted by: Samsara Jan 06 03, 11:34 PM GMT
Ok, I have another question. Nan, I was reading that big article about San Pedro care and I don't think my climate (zone 5-6) will allow for me to have the cactus outside so I am going to grow it indoors completly if possible. Do cacti need a dormant period in the winter, or can they veg at 18/6 or 12/12 all year round? On a side note, how do you tell once the cactus has rooted? Thanks again and I'm sorry to ask such basic questions.

Posted by: Nanook Jan 07 03, 12:34 AM GMT
They need a minimum of a 6 week dormancy period. What I would do would be to leave them outside in summer, or under a light if you prefer... The bring them indoors (or keep em indoors under light) until Jan 1. Then cut back both light & temps (park em in a cool room with natural light perhaps, or reduce the light cycle to 8 hours or less), then Feb 15th, back into the light.

When Pedro roots they generally crack open with some new growth at the tip. You can also tell by gently pulling on the cactus, if it's firm and holding into the soil it has roots starting.

Posted by: Samsara Jan 07 03, 12:59 AM GMT
Thanks yet again Nan, you are being a huge help. I think I have it more or less figured out....for now

Posted by: Nanook Jan 07 03, 12:28 PM GMT
Kewl, I am here to help.

Posted by: Samsara Jan 09 03, 06:46 PM GMT
OK, the three San Pedros came today. Due to the fact that I have no money, I used the Shultz commercial cactus soil that was laying around to plant them in. Well, actually I haven't gotten around to planting all of them, just one so far, put I will pot the other two soon. Bouncing Bear was very quick and the cuttings are pretty high quality. One is really good looking (the one I potted so far) and the other two are pretty nasty, but I don't really care about apperance. Here are the pics, first the nice potted one,

Posted by: Samsara Jan 09 03, 06:47 PM GMT
And here are the two left to be potted.....

Posted by: Nanook Jan 09 03, 06:47 PM GMT
Use lots of lime (powdered rock) as a top dressing on that mix wink.gif

Posted by: Samsara Jan 09 03, 06:54 PM GMT
Thanks yet again......!

Posted by: newman Jan 11 03, 08:50 AM GMT
Hmm I had mine under 24 h of light and it grew pretty good. It had been dormant prior to that. Thanks for the Tip Nan biggrin.gif Now it should grow like mad.

Posted by: Samsara Feb 25 03, 11:13 PM GMT
UPDATE (From a very old thread): 2/3 of the cuttings have succesfully rooted. The other had a bad soil mix causing it to rot which I fixed and now I hope it may root. Considering the will power of these things I think it will. I have all three in the growroom now under 12/12 and they seem to be getting a lighter green on the top. Any idea about what this means? Thanks!

Posted by: Nanook Feb 26 03, 12:11 AM GMT
Light green means insufficient light. You got rot because the soil mix was too acid. In order to cure rot you need to cut the rot away until no trace is left in the cutting (it can travel up the pith, and it has to be clean). Then it must rescab for about a week. Then repot. That mix you have was much too sour (acid, low pH) which is why one rotted when they got too moist.

I was down on the beach not too long ago, and the sand was pulverized sea shells, with wash areas of larger pieces of shell. This is too is ideal for nutrient supply, drainage, and pH buffering in place of crushed limestone gravel.

Posted by: Samsara Feb 26 03, 12:20 AM GMT
It's strange, but I put alot more Lime with that particular cactus than with the others (I thought it might have been the problem). Perhaps what I am thinking of as rot isn't really. The bottom just seems to be getting squishy and a little tiny bit of decay occured in the corners of the ribs on the bottom.

Posted by: Samsara Feb 26 03, 12:23 AM GMT
Oh and I think the light green may be from them sitting on my windowsill with low-light for so long. I just put them in the grow room and they seem to be darkening up a bit. Any tips on making them grow faster? Are trace elements ok to give them at this stage?

Posted by: Nanook Feb 26 03, 04:40 AM GMT
Too much lime can burn em too... But it's rare to see. If the base looks bad, it probably is, best to pull it out and check. Catch it early, the worst you can do is have to pot it back up.

They will green up with light.

Posted by: ion Feb 26 03, 10:30 AM GMT
Ok, not to step on toes or anything (I know you know your shit, Nan), but I have actually noticed quite a bit of new growth on cacti before they ever root. Case in point:

I had a mid-section cutting (not a very healthy specimen, either), scabbed up well on both ends, stuck about an inch into Nan's Soil Mix ™ with a bit of fine-sifted soil in the hole (to get good surface contact with the base of the cutting).

It began to sprout an arm within 3 days. It sprouted another arm within the next 2 days. These grew to about 3 and 2 inches, respectively, when I noticed another arm just popping out... and a bit of rot elsewhere on the cactus. The arms stopped growing. The rot was creeping up from the base, so I dug out some soil at the site, cut out the rot, and dabbed the wound with flowers of sulfur (pure sulfur powder). The wound healed and scabbed. Over the course of the next 3 weeks, more spots showed up which I battled in turn...

Eventually, the war was lost. I cut off the arms and (as they were too small to scab without dehydrating badly, and already had a tiny bit of rot spots tainting their piths) put them in the freezer. I gently tugged on the ragged stump of cactus (poor thing sad.gif ), and to my surprise the cutting had not rooted at all!

It made sense that the unfortunate little guy was rotting so badly, then... but the arms were definitely a mystery.

At the same time, I also had healthy specimens that did the same thing. (I checked all of them after that point to see if they had roots.) All were throwing off arms, and/or growing like mad, most of which had no roots or only tiny stubs (budding roots).

My hypothesis is that the cacti want to keep producing mass even when not rooted, so that when more ideal conditions are present the fresh growth will be virulent enough to continue life by rooting... even if the old growth has died and rotted.

Thoughts? huh.gif


Posted by: ion Feb 28 03, 08:27 AM GMT
That's me... Thread Killer Extraordinaire... rolleyes.gif


Posted by: 420M Feb 28 03, 08:26 PM GMT
QUOTE (Nanook @ Jan 06 03, 07:53 AM GMT)
They need 6-8 hours of dark in order to metabolize the stored energy accumulated during the light period. Cacti have a unique photosynthetic process among plants. Energy is captured during the day, but is held in a temporary chemical bond until it gets dark.

Once it is dark, cacti open their stomates (they do not breath during the light cycle to prevent loss of water), they complete the photosynthetic process, absorbing C02, making sugar, and transpiring O2... That part only happens in the dark in cacti.

Soooo... 24 hours straight light is not going to be healthy.


Nan. . .

That was my understanding for Cannabis also.

Which is why I recommend an 18 hr light cycle other than for cloning and re-vegging.


Posted by: ion Mar 01 03, 02:19 AM GMT
Long time no see, 420! Welcome back! smile.gif

I think maybe cacti only work at night, while most other plants often work both night and day... with the greater portion of work being done at night. 'Course, I'm just talking out my virtual ass, I suppose. tongue.gif


Posted by: Bob Roberts Mar 01 03, 04:35 PM GMT
Interesting observation, Ion. You are right with your guess. Let's see if I can tie the two together without using too much lingo wink.gif.

The type of photosynthesis used in cacti, succulents, and a few other plants is known as CAM or Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. Nan gave a good explanation of it and I'll elaborate a little further.

In CAM, CO2 is fixed at night and a series of reactions follow which are very similar in nature to C4 [used in grass-like plants (monocots usually)] photosynthesis. The main difference here is that in C4 plants, the assimilates formed from CO2 uptake are separated SPACIALLY, whereas in CAM plants they are separated IN TIME.

And so this difference is the main reason why you can notice more growth in plants utilizing CAM photosynthesis, even when there are no roots. The assimilates used to produce new growth are there even when the roots are not. Now, there can be at least 2 reasons for the sudden burst of side shoots and top growth: 1) Water or Nutrient Stress -- this is a common occurence in cultivated cacti. They deplete the main energy reserves to procure as many offspring as possible when something out of the ordinary is detected. Cacti often rely much more heavily on asexual reproduction than sexual. Often, herbaceous and woody plants will go to seed in times of heavy drought. This stress can be from the lack of osmotic (turgor) pressure incurred in a plant with no roots or can be from a pathogen like a rot. 2) Disease or Fungal Growth -- Pathogens have evolved to do some very strange things to plants around the world. The response to these types of stress can vary, but besides visual cues, responses may often mimic the above reasons.

Note: CAM photosynthesis occurs in most species of cacti and plants with succulent leaves, but not all! Some plants can even switch between CAM and C4 when the conditions require! These are called "facultative" CAM plants.

While it is true that certain rots are more present in acidic soils and that most cacti enjoy a higher pH level in the soil, the most definite factor in encouraging rot is moisture level. Using media for rooting that is not well drained or that holds alot of moisture is the quickest way to get any number of diseases and rots in your cacti. For this reason, especially if you are not familiar with the plant, always start your unrooted cuttings in a higher percentage sand mix, in a pot that does not swallow them (ie... is not much wider or taller than the height of the cutting), transplant them when the roots hit the bottom of the pot, and harden them off (move out of propagation area and cut water rate initially/adjust to normal temperature).

So, I hope this helps in some way! Will be happy to answer any follow-ups.


Posted by: ion Mar 01 03, 06:17 PM GMT
Fantastic! Now I understand the possible reasons behind my observations. Thank you! wub.gif

This probably explains why cacti are so easily grafted... which leads me to my next question:

Would it be possible to graft a CAM plant to a C4 plant, or vice-versa? If so, it may be possible to speed the growth of the scion enormously... a cactus that grows well at night would have an extra bit of daytime growth energy from a woody/leafy stock, for example... or perhaps an herb could be facilitated in nighttime growth by the stored nutrients in a cactus stock.

Is this possible? What are the compatability issues between these two energy systems? Am I just trying to approximate a botanical Frankenstein's monster?


Posted by: Bob Roberts Mar 01 03, 09:49 PM GMT
It's a good question and one that earns people alot of money in the Horticulture industry if they make a breakthrough!

Grafting compatibility is usually only applicable at least within family. Often it is limited only to genus. Cactaceae is the family Trichocereus is in. It is quite a large family. In all actuality, Trichocereus is one of the best genus to use when you are looking for an understock to speed up the growth of, say, a Lophophora. Within the Cactaceae family, Echinopsis and Pereskiopsis are some of the other common understocks used. In fact, I bet that if you go into a store that buys from a local grower (not a box store) and examine the understock of a grafted cactus, you will find a Trichocereus ! In essence, this is in fact a proven way of obtaining these plants. Call up a wholesaler and ask for some understock of said genus. For instance, say you have some Rebutia seedlings and are wanting to propagate a bunch. Well, using Trich understocks you can do that alot faster wink.gif .

It would be a grand world if we could do that, Ion. If you take it a few steps further, and apply it across the board, it could be a really scary one too!

Posted by: ion Mar 02 03, 01:41 PM GMT
Heheh... devil.gif

Just figured I'd ask. Thanks. smile.gif


Posted by: TimothyLeary Nov 18 02, 04:04 PM GMT
My 3 12" pedro tips should be coming fairly soon.

But before they come, i have some questions....

Since it is the winter dormant period, how should i go about rooting these suckers?
I asume i should stick exactly to Nan's tek in the archives?

Will i need a grow light, or will by a window be sufficient?

Is there a particular temperature i should keep my thermostat at?

Thanks in advance wink.gif

Posted by: Bob Roberts Nov 18 02, 11:41 PM GMT
When rooting, I use two parts sand to one part peat. The cutting is placed on top of the soil and twisted to make sure of intimate contact. It of course, has callused over. I stake it up and make sure the medium is moist. Then I put it on a seed germination heat mat mat to provide bottom heat.

For light, a simple grow light with a hood will do. It really depends on how many you're doing or if you have other plants to overwinter as to whether you feel it's worth it.

Maybe you should ask the people what conditions they had before shipping and that could give you an idea of where to start with light timing. I've got mine on 11 hours of light as I have to separate them into two rooms and have 75 watts for like 5 square feet. I do alot of rotating.

I have also used rooting hormone for cuttings, though I can't recall the concentration. It was IBA in a package. I'd suggest something like Rootone that has a fungicide in it also. After that, I wouldn't touch it for like 3 or 4 weeks. Water it and do the same thing. You should see some initials (stop looking at them so much!)

There are more than two ways to do it. This is just mine. It could be yours. laugh.gif

Posted by: TimothyLeary Nov 19 02, 03:48 PM GMT
well here they are:

what size pot should each go in? i am thinking 12"?

Posted by: TimothyLeary Nov 19 02, 03:56 PM GMT
btw, they are measuring out to be 15in...certainly not 12....

thank you brad @ wink.gif biggrin.gif wub.gif

Posted by: Bob Roberts Nov 19 02, 05:23 PM GMT
It depends how much you want to repot, obviously, but I start out with a 6" standard with cuttings that big and then bump them up when they have filled the pot. If you have a choice, don't get an azalea pot; go for the deeper one. Focus on root development initially, and then the tops will come big time.

Oh yeah, if you're going to use Water-soluble fertilizers like Peter's that you get from nursery suppliers, try using Peters Excel, 15-5-15 al-mag at one teaspoon per gallon. It has all of the trace elements they need and is used by a cactus wholesaler I know who swears by it.

Posted by: TimothyLeary Nov 19 02, 09:11 PM GMT
i followed nan's directions since they were out of sand and had no root powder.
would the liquid work the same?
well, it sticks, but when i drop it, it falls apart...

Posted by: Nanook Nov 19 02, 09:14 PM GMT
You are looking good Tim.

If you want to root them up, get them into a bright location where they get natural light during the day and suppliment with an artificial light source to to extend the daylength to 12-14 hours. That is enough daylenght to prevent dormancy.

About Jan 1st, cut off the artifical light. They need 6 weeks of dormancy. In a good location with natural light they will resume growth about Feb 15th for most of the country. Then as soon as the last frost has past, move em outside wink.gif

Posted by: Bob Roberts Nov 19 02, 09:26 PM GMT
That's a good point about the dormancy, Nanook. I've been known to leave them alone until the tips are white (somewhere around 2 months).

Posted by: Samsara Feb 18 03, 02:36 AM GMT
Ok, I bought 3 6" pedro cuttings a month ago or so, and being winter, they have been slow to root. I was wondering, can I put the little guys in my grow room (400 watts of fluros on 12/12) so they root quicker and start to grow. They have been pretty much dormant for the past month. I removed one from the soil and noticed only one tiny root that had formed about an inch or 2 long. Should I put them in the growroom so they can root quicker and than bring them outside in the spring or is this not good since they will not get a dormant period while rooted?

Posted by: Malformed Feb 18 03, 02:46 AM GMT
its winter here, i got a pedro with a button grafted to the top, since i put it in the closet, with the 150 wat HPS light, the button has doubled in size, and the 2 babys on it have also doubled.

the pedro itself, has turned nice and green, rooted fast, and got pretty meaty.

biggrin.gif cool.gif

i say go for it biggrin.gif

Posted by: Nanook Feb 18 03, 03:16 PM GMT
Yeah go for it wink.gif

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