Cloning salvia: two alternative methods

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unsigned_char72
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Cloning salvia: two alternative methods

Post by unsigned_char72 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:49 am

The classic method of propagating Salvia is by making cuttings root in water (or sometimes directly into soil). In my experience, I've had very high failure rates with this method: often the cutting doesn't want to root, or, when it's transplanted to soil the shock is too much and the cutting first wilts and then dies.

So I've switched to other ways of cloning, which have higher success rates.

The first is Layering. In the last year my salvia colony faced a severe population bottleneck (very long story) to the point it was risky to take cuttings. This because all plants had developed wooden stems with no lower growth and rather weak apical terminations. So I didn't dare to take cuttings. But since one of the branches had leaned to the ground over its own weight, I curved it into another pot and filled with ground. This way the branch can develop roots without any stress. See the picture (red arrow):

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Of course you can apply the layering method only if you have suitable branches for that. If you don't have any, you can still root cuttings under a mini greenhouse made with a soda bottle (which is method #2 -- red arrow in the picture). After the cutting develops roots, you can start punch holes in the bottle to decrease the humidity inside the greenhouse and let the new plant adapt to low humidity conditions.

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(In the picture the yellow arrows are the branches that comes out of the ground from the layering method of previous picture.)


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Jupe
Posts: 1766
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:41 am
Location: Santa Barbara

Re: Cloning salvia: two alternative methods

Post by Jupe » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:22 pm

yah....its guaranteed....especially if caretaking is an issue ...

..heres a series of shots with layering......plants tend to fall over at about 6 ft, most of my garden does this, so I end up cutting it down each fall, as it falls into areas where I cant water etc..
.In the wild, the plant could move towards better growing conditions this way. A six ft plant has 20-25 double sided nodes, so after the plant has fallen to the ground, hopefully without breaking its stem, (outer edge of the patch falls first, inner area tends to support itself.) all those multiple nodes now grow up at the same rate, you get a peculiar vertical series of straight stems.....kinda interesting.....

When I can, if I have access, I will put fresh mulch and fertilizers on a layering area, and then put some rocks on top to hold it down. After a few seasons, maybe 3 or 4 I suppose, the original mother stem will have died off, and the plant is mvoing on. Its kind of a hybrid annual/ perennial....almost behaving like a rhizome producing vine or something....
this is a during trimming, when I was trying to find some specimens that got smothered

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this is from after cutting, when I trim it down to ankle to knee high, depending on the age of the plant. Any single stalks, or healthy looking stumps with sprouts, I leave alone. These will be next years flowers producers.

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Heres an older clump, probably 3 or 4 years, I am pointing out a new rhizome plant starting up.....

Most of these pics are old, but patch is still the same, this year, 40 percent has laid over down a creek edge, pretty messy.....I'm thinking of just letting it be, maybe dump a wheelbarrow of dirt or something onto the whole mess :roll:

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edited a bunch to fix pictures etc

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unsigned_char72
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Re: Cloning salvia: two alternative methods

Post by unsigned_char72 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:25 am

I wish I could find a patch in the wild where Salvia could grow undisturbed and unnoticed as in the pictures you posted. Unfortunately my climate is too adverse, being too hot in the summer, so she needs my care at least for watering. This is starting to concern me, as I am the only caregiver for my plants, so if I get sick or incapacitated they would die soon after :(

Another thing of concern is a certain inability of S. Divinorum to put vegetative growth from lower branches. It's something I really hate: once the lower part hardens and gets woody, nothing will sprout from there and the plant is destined to death if you don't clone her. This feature is common to other salvias too: for example S. Splendens, S. Roscida and S. Oxyphora (in my growing experience). On the other side, S. Madrensis keeps sprouting from below like hell even if the trunk is old and woody.

Jupe
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Re: Cloning salvia: two alternative methods

Post by Jupe » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:50 pm

wellllllll......this patch would be dead without me guarans brah.

I grow it in full view, on a big private estate I work at, as an ornamental patch of cool Mexican salvias...you know, RARE ones....check out the cool BLUE flowers.....I have to force folks to PAY ATTENTION to just what the heck it is. We got a bunch of Daturas too, so I always point them as a distraction......"now there are some BAD plants".....got a bunch of ornamental San Pedros too......regular people are clueless. Heck my employers bought all the plants...haha....cept my 3 little baby salvias. I didnt know they would grow so darn big....ya know?


But.... I here ya :( .........soCal is bone dry most everywhere, pours rain, then bakes....
its 95F up the street from me,(about a mile) all summer long, and even in winter......baking dry.........I'm at the coast, a 1/4 mile in, so we get fog, and ocean breezes, which is the ticket, but no water till winter......I blast the plants with drip systems, hose watering, sprayers, old buckets of pond water....pretty much anything anytime etc.....I can ignore them through the winter, (unless its a La Nina with zero water.....big trouble) as ground is cold and wet and plants grow slowly, but summer with sunlight on them I have to water them....25-50 gallons of water every couple of days.
I mean I REALLY water them, drilling with a 3/4" firehose , washing dirt all around, generally trashing everything, but it fills in the mole holes with fresh dirt, and gets the whole oxygen thing going. Plants grow up really strong with that treatment, plants I let alone just get wimpy and get bugs, mites etc.....I've lost a lot through underwatering.....(I think I calculated the Hauatla region of Mesico as getting an average of 1/2" day...so its probably dry then drenching storms....steep ravines and high elevations....lightning storms......so i guess I stumbled on that recipe.)


I tried growing them in a local perrenial creek, but something wasnt right......wrong PH or something...(I tossed 60 lbs of stems in and let them float down, get cught on rocks and stuff.... stuck some in mud, some rooted....but were feeble......winter would have swept them away anyways....)

Stems, even hardened off brown ones will pop shoots though, new sunlight on them helps, but letting them lean over is just as good....often one causes the other.......often they will do an underground sprout as well, if cut down to 3 or 4 inches....sometimes they just die...

Heres an ugly buggly one which I moved to a more sunny spot......started popping in a few weeks

ps you could put your plants on a cheapo garden hose drip system with timer, batteries are good for a few months (low pressure system stuff, no tools needed).....cost maybe 30-50 bucks total.

alright....keep the faith

Jupe

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