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Struggling corkscrew vine cuttings

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by roflol on November 17, 2006 12:28 AM
Moved from related thread in propagation that's gotten no response in 2 days, getting desperate here...

In a nutshell, mid October I got 14 cuttings of corkscrew vine from Colorado and several rooted.

The saga continues... we are down to 5 cuttings surviving and I am concerned as yesterday one of them (the thicker-stemmed one) the leaves turned yellow pretty much overnight, and one of the other "older" cuttings (ones I put into soil immediately) the stem is definitely darkening and the leaf buds it started have stopped developing. These older cuttings have 2-3 roots coming out of the bottom of their pots (long white roots).

These older ones I have had in pots in a plastic-lined box and had water in the plastic liner so they would be getting water from the bottom, but it did dry out one-two days which seems to be when the trouble began.... also coincided with cold weather and when the furnace kicked in.

The "younger" cuttings (the ones I started in water and just moved into soil recently, and are currently in pots soaking in water) seem to be doing fine.

They are all in potting soil that says it should "feed" for 2-3 months. I haven't added anything but water.

It almost seems like they do well in the early stages of rooting, and then they need me to do something else but I don't know what it is so they die.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for any advice.
by roflol on November 18, 2006 05:14 AM
Oooookay, so at the risk of appearing to be talking to myself, I will take a guess and suspect the problem is dry cold air and soaked soil that the plants are not tolerating, and I will post my work-around in hopes that somebody someday with the same problem might see what I have done and either learn what to do or what not to do, depending on the outcome.

With my mantra of "I can do it cheaper than that", I bypassed the $40 plastic-shelving but custom fitted and zipper-entry covered mini greenhouse at Lowes (Home Depot online had one listed but it was not available: "check at your local store" but they had nothing at all) and scoured Wal-Mart, finding an over-the-toilet 3-shelf unit by Zenith that was not as large as the mini greenhouse but was adequate for my space, for $20. I have lots of plastic in the garage from prior mattress purchases that I have used to tape a covering for this; it has no zippers but it will do to hold any humidity in better.

While at Wal-Mart, I almost bought a $30 Holmes small-room warm mist humidifier but walked by a Vicks vaporizer for $9; they both claimed to run for 24 hours on a tank, so I opted for the Vicks.

So I have set up the plastic-covered shelving unit in front of the window, and the Vicks is running. I will let the soil dry out a little and see what happens.
by roflol on November 21, 2006 12:44 AM
Captain's log stardate.... oh never mind, I never understood how that stardate stuff worked anyway.

This is my latest entry in what seems to be my personal online diary of trying to keep these rooted corkscrew vine cuttings alive.

At any rate, lost two more cuttings last night. The stems turn brown and the roots that had been coming out the bottom of the soil pots seem to disappear. What I've found when I carefully take the dead stems out is the roots are no longer attached to the stems. I guess this is from too much water. The three remaining cuttings are being allowed to dry out (I did squeeze the excess water out to hasten the drying). Two aren't looking 100%, and the third one (has the most roots on it coming out the bottom of the pot) looks the best, still has green stem even below the soil line, has darkest green leaves. I plan to move it to a bigger pot once I find one.

All of these are in my home-made "greenhouse." That's working pretty well, although the Vicks vaporizer runs out in much less than 24 hours... the air in this house must be much drier than I thought.

Incidentally, the seed pod that came with these cuttings split open to reveal about 5 seeds much smaller than those I've seen online. Nicked one and put it in water and nothing has happened so I doubt very seriously that these are viable, but I have saved them just in case they just need more warmth than I've been able to provide.

by joclyn on November 21, 2006 08:27 AM
science officers log,, no, that's another forum...


anyhoo, i haven't been on here since mid-week last week...

did some googling (i just love google) and came up with the following:

some general info on dave's garden

check the 7th post here for instructions that might help.

when it comes to your soil that has fertilizer in it...if it's old and/or the bag has been open for a while, you might want to boost it with a mild treatment of fresh fertilizer. i've always used peter's's a 20-20-20. i mix it half-strength and then further dilute it when i's done well for all my plants over the years!
by roflol on November 21, 2006 12:41 PM
joclyn, thanks for replying. lol, are you another trek fan?

Dear me, here I was hoping these vine cuttings would live long and prosper, and instead they've given me nothing but tribble... I mean, trouble. Heheh. [perplexed]

Just kidding, this has been an interesting learning experience from the very beginning.

Anyway, I had found both of those posts you linked to. My problem was not in the rooting, but what to do with them after they were rooted.... I'm doing something wrong after they root apparently.

I have a sneaking suspicion it's got to do with the watering needs. When something is starting to root, it needs more water usually, right? But at some point it needs less, and I just haven't figured out when that is. Hopefully I have caught the healthiest one in time and it will make it through the winter... can only hope.

The soil was a new bag, never opened. It was a generic, next to the Miracle-Gro so certainly not "on par" with Miracle-Gro but close to it.

Re the hot and humid climate preference, when the weather went cold and the furnace came on, that first leafy one turned yellow and lost its leaves in the span of about 3 days. Since I built my "greenhouse", the other ones that hadn't already been so very sickly haven't regressed so fast so I'm hoping my greenhouse is making them happier.

So at what point do you start watering like a normal rooted plant - letting the soil dry out somewhat between waterings to avoid root rot - instead of a rooted cutting where the soil is wet all the time to keep the cutting hydrated?

by joclyn on November 22, 2006 06:10 AM
yes, i AM a trekkie! i've followed all the series - hated that enterprise was canceled and just when they were getting in a good groove, too!

did you see the marathon on tvland over the weekend? the original series. it was cool to see some episodes i haven't seen in a long time (the regular syndications always seem to have the same 6 shows).

anyhoo, i'm glad the links were somewhat helpful...

yes, when rooting you need to keep the soil moister than normal.

if you have forced air heat, i would definitely keep it with the humidifier going as well as keep it in the make-shift greenhouse - at least until it's very well established!

when it comes to modifying the watering schedule, that's a hard one to call with a tropical that's being kept in artificial conditions AND it's going in to it's dormant phase too...

i've never grown this plant (looks like a really lovely plant tho!!) so i'm just making a general statement about it...cut back on the water level once you see a good amount of new growth happening.

i WOULD keep the humidity level very high though...that seems to be the theme throughout everything i've read about it. i also would never let it become completely dried out either - that just doesn't seem like a good idea for something that likes humidity as much as this one seems to!

good luck and post some pics of the little one as it grows!!

oh, the soil should be okay then, since it was a new bag. on the seeds, they seem to need soaking (one post mentioned chamomile tea??) and then they need good heat/humidity to germinate.
by roflol on November 24, 2006 10:38 AM
I missed the marathon, dang... the original was what I grew up on and I never got past it to be honest (I tried NextGeneration but I was too old by then to appreciate it, I still had a crush on Chekov, lol).

Taking the pots out of soaking water seems to have slowed down the death rate, we still have the three and the healthiest one doesn't seem to be developing any problems right now. I haven't moved it to a bigger pot yet, kind of scared to change anything right now... just keeping the vaporizer running and hoping for the best.

I'll try the seeds again when the weather warms up; again, I doubt these are viable but can't hurt to try... just figured if it did germinate by some miracle it'd be a darn shame to have it die because it's too cold here right now!

I'm working on getting a decent digital camera, so hopefully will have some pics soon.

Thanks for words of encouragement, sometimes it helps just to be able to talk it through with somebody who has a clue... family is *not* interested in this. lol

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