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Pussy Willow cuttings:

I’ve had these cuttings in water for 3 weeks now and they’ve sprouted roots.

How long do I let the roots get before I should plant them in the ground?

Thanks

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Nice! I’ve had success when I’ve put twigs like yours in small containers with potting soil, filled gently while holding the twig straight and compacting lightly, just enough so it can stand up on its own. Keep this pot moist and let the roots adapt to the soil for maybe two more weeks? before planting outdoors. I’ve gone ahead and put sprouted twigs like that directly into the ground, but it’s been hit or miss whether they live.

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Like @Eva, I wouldn’t put them directly in the ground. Those delicate young roots will easily get damaged by normal soil. I would put them into potting compost. If you use a compressed coconut container, you could put that in the ground and the roots will eventually grow through it. Your local nursery may have something bigger, but this is the kind of concept:

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Ok, I went ahead and picked up some potting material: The bags were much lighter in weight than I expected. My nursery didn’t have the pots so I’ll look to Amazon.

Thank you both.

Ed

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The other possibility is to dig a hole in the soil, get a helper to hold the rooting twig in the center of the hole, and then very gently put compost into the hole around the roots. You will probably need to stake the plant to a cane or similar, so that no torsion is put on the roots, but at least they will have very soft compost to develop in before they reach the “hard stuff”. :smile:

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I like this idea. I was having trouble finding pots for a 4’-5’ cutting.

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If I leave them in water will the roots continue to grow or will they reach a certain point and die?

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I’ve left some too long - they die without next-level nutrients from soil :dizzy_face:

Edit - adding that it’s good to clip the sprouted twigs down to the topmost leaf buds, this helps the plant avoid rot from a dying section and devote energy to more roots and leaves.

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They will continue to grow, but as @Eva says, they need other nutrients. When I root cuttings in water, I usually wait for the roots to reach about 6" long, then plant in compost.

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I put 6 of 10 in the ground yesterday just in time for todays “all day soaker” rainstorm.

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Red… even in Australia you can put pussy willow cutting straight in the ground, no need to go to all the trouble of potting mix. Just dip the end in some honey!! Make a hole 1/3 of the length of the cutting and shove it in!!.. depending on your area you might be too far into spring…the cutting should not have sprouted. In southern Australia the best time is August . All the best. Cheers

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Ah, but that is when you have not rooted it first. Once you have those little roots, banging it straight in the ground is a recipe for decimation as the plant has already spent a lot of energy and growth points on starting to grow roots. If you break them off, it has very few resources left to regrow more.

:blush:

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Yes you are right Dawn… plant them carefully when they have roots.
The Willow family of plants are as tuff as old boots.:slight_smile:

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Thanks for the tips Dawn and Suses 70.

If these don’t work I have an endless supply of cuttings so I’ll try next year.

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A little tip I leant many yrs ago. Once the roots start to form change from water to a wet perlite /vermiculite mix, poor it into yr pots and allow the water to drain away from the mix. Keep them moist but not flooded add some potassium nitrate to yr water. Don’t let the seedlings get pot bound and plant them anywhere you like. :slight_smile:

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