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Old 11-17-2019, 12:29 PM
 
2,021 posts, read 758,306 times
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Okay, so this year I decided to get off the treadmill of buying ornamental sweet potato plants (like Blackie or Sweet Caroline) at the nursery every spring, at $5 per 4" pot, and root some cuttings from this year's plants in water. Everything online says this is as easy as rolling off a log: Take 4"-6" long cuttings at a leaf node, plop 'em in glasses of water, watch the roots develop, and when there is "a good root mass", either pot them up for the winter or leave them in water until spring planting time.

Sounded easy peasy, so I did. Took cuttings about a week before we had our first frost and put the jars of water/plants in front of a sliding glass door that gets bright light (but no strong direct sun) all day. All the cuttings developed roots (some more, some fewer) and looked great until about a week ago when leaves began fading, wilting and finally drying up. Roots have always been underwater and are still nice and white but the cuttings are dying. I started with 16 cuttings and am now down to 6, all of which are in some stage of deterioration just like the others.

What the heck did I do wrong? This is really embarassing because I'm a person who in the past has managed to keep things like Eucalyptus perriniana and Iris unguicularis alive outdoors through several Zone 7 winters which should have killed them dead with the first frost --- and yet I can't even root a sweet potato vine in water, something even a 10-year-old should be able to accomplish?

Seriously though, where'd I screw up? Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:38 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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Quote:
..... Roots have always been underwater and are still nice and white but the cuttings are dying. I started with 16 cuttings and am now down to 6, all of which are in some stage of deterioration just like the others.......

I think you likely left it way too late in the season of waning daylight to take your cuttings.

I don't know if this will work or not but you can try it. Put those 6 remaining cuttings into soil now, don't leave them in the water. Provide the potted roots with additional light and warmth. Then just wait a few weeks and see if they start new foliage growth from the roots. They may or may not take, but nothing ventured nothing gained. Keep in mind that because it is autumn the leaves that were on the cuttings were already at the very end stage of their lives and were on their way out, they were all bound to die very soon anyway even if those new roots are healthy. Since the remaining leaves on the cuttings are what promote and provide nourishment to the new roots, when they are shut down and dying they are no longer able to collect and convert sunlight to provide nourishment to the new roots nor to encourage the growth of new foliage. Right now the roots might look healthy and white but they are actually starving and fighting to stay alive. Were you providing the cuttings in water with any other nourishment aside from waning daylight?

Cuttings from any kind of plant can be iffy, it's always a 50/50 proposition and there's never any guarantees that they'll produce new growth. Especially with plants that are hybrid ornamentals that were started and raised indoors as nursery plants with all the bells and whistles that nurseries pamper them with.

I'll make a couple of alternative suggestions for in the event you want to try again next year.

(1) Take your cuttings from a well established "mother" plant in very early to mid summer when the plant is still in its full flush of continuing healthy new growth and the daylight hours are still long. Don't wait to take cuttings in autumn when the mother plant is preparing to die and the daylight hours are so rapidly waning and there is less and less light with each progressive day. Cuttings need LOTS of light to get them off to a good start, that light provides them with vital nourishment.

(2) Try growing new plants from the eyes of tubers instead of from taking cuttings. You can often get several eyes on a single tuber. There's some instructions here about starting new plants known as "slips" from the tubers: https://www.tropicalpermaculture.com...-potatoes.html

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edi...tato-vines.htm

When I start cuttings in jars of water I pot them up into soil as soon as they have half an inch to one inch long roots on them. I personally believe that it is bad advice when growers are advised to leave rooted cuttings sitting in water over the winter because it increases the chances of them going stagnant and getting fungal rot over such a long period of waiting time. Leaving the roots in standing, non-circulating water in jars for weeks on end is not anything like growing plants hydroponically.
.
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
24,170 posts, read 29,253,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCjunkie View Post
Okay, so this year I decided to get off the treadmill of buying ornamental sweet potato plants (like Blackie or Sweet Caroline) at the nursery every spring, at $5 per 4" pot, and root some cuttings from this year's plants in water. Everything online says this is as easy as rolling off a log: Take 4"-6" long cuttings at a leaf node, plop 'em in glasses of water, watch the roots develop, and when there is "a good root mass", either pot them up for the winter or leave them in water until spring planting time.

Sounded easy peasy, so I did. Took cuttings about a week before we had our first frost and put the jars of water/plants in front of a sliding glass door that gets bright light (but no strong direct sun) all day. All the cuttings developed roots (some more, some fewer) and looked great until about a week ago when leaves began fading, wilting and finally drying up. Roots have always been underwater and are still nice and white but the cuttings are dying. I started with 16 cuttings and am now down to 6, all of which are in some stage of deterioration just like the others.

What the heck did I do wrong? This is really embarassing because I'm a person who in the past has managed to keep things like Eucalyptus perriniana and Iris unguicularis alive outdoors through several Zone 7 winters which should have killed them dead with the first frost --- and yet I can't even root a sweet potato vine in water, something even a 10-year-old should be able to accomplish?

Seriously though, where'd I screw up? Thanks!
What's in the water? Is it chlorinated? How often do you change it?

If it is chlorinated you may want to let it sit for a day or two before adding it to your plants to allow the chlorine to outgas.

This is about spider plants but the principles are the same.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/hou...s-in-water.htm
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:05 PM
 
2,021 posts, read 758,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
Were you providing the cuttings in water with any other nourishment aside from waning daylight?
No, because everything I'd read said 'just plain water'; I will admit that in spite of having gardened for the past 40 years this is the first time I've ever tried to root anything in water. Just never grew many annuals and the ones I did grow were started from seed in situ in the spring. Things like Nigella and such.

Quote:
I'll make a couple of alternative suggestions for in the event you want to try again next year.

(1) Take your cuttings from a well established "mother" plant in very early to mid summer when the plant is still in its full flush of continuing healthy new growth and the daylight hours are still long. Don't wait to take cuttings in autumn when the mother plant is preparing to die and the daylight hours are so rapidly waning and there is less and less light with each progressive day.
I am sure you are right about having waited too long for these. It was one of those things that got pushed down the priority list until one day I realized "Ooops, it's October!" LOL

Quote:
Try growing new plants from the eyes of tubers instead of from taking cuttings. You can often get several eyes on a single tuber.
I'm glad you mentioned this because it reminded me of something odd: The variety I took the cutting from (Sweet Caroline 'Sweetheart Jet Black') had made NO tubers at all! And from what I'd read, I was expecting there to be some, but nope, there were none. It was surprising because they were three nursery-bought plants of it my large container and none of them had any tubers. I actually had been planning to do exactly what your link said, with the tubers, as a backup... but there were none at all on those plants.

Ironically, I had also bought another variety of black sweet potato this spring as well: Sweet Caroline 'Raven.' That one has a different leaf shape from 'Sweetheart Jet Black' (which has a heart shaped leaf) in that the leaves are narrow and "finger" shaped. Planted those three in the same mix in the same size container and they were growing only a few feet apart on the patio. The 'Raven' plants didn't do nearly as well as the 'Sweetheart' and frankly I didn't care for the look at all. But... when I pulled out the 'Raven' plants to toss them after the first frost, guess what? Each of those plants had formed at least two tubers each! But I did nothing with them because that wasn't the cultivar I wanted to propagate.

I thought all sweet potato cultivars would form tubers but I guess not? Well, 'Sweetheart Jet Black' didn't, anyhow.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
What's in the water? Is it chlorinated? How often do you change it?

I did use straight tap water which is chlorinated. We have a Doulton ceramic-candle countertop water filter that I temporarily hook up to the tap whenever I need water for cooking or drinking, and that does remove the chlorine, but I just used medium temperature tap water (not hot/not cold) to fill up the jars for the cuttings.


I didn't think that a water change wouldn't be needed unless the water became green, dirty or cloudy (which it hasn't) so I only topped it up a bit so that all the roots were underwater.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:02 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCjunkie View Post

..... I thought all sweet potato cultivars would form tubers but I guess not? Well, 'Sweetheart Jet Black' didn't, anyhow.

Unfortunately, if you do some research you'll find that the Sweetheart Jet Black is a registered ornamental hybrid annual that has been bred to produce good leaves and no tubers, and any viable seed production from flowers on them is very rare. The plants that you buy from a nursery are generally started en masse from cuttings too so I think you would have to propagate more Sweetheart Jet Blacks from cuttings from a "mother" that you purchase at a nursery.


.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
Unfortunately, if you do some research you'll find that the Sweetheart Jet Black is a registered ornamental hybrid annual that has been bred to produce good leaves and no tubers

It figures, LOL. Actually I was originally looking for Ace of Spades/Black Heart but none of the nurseries in my area were carrying that variety this past spring (2019) .... the only heart-shaped-leaf black sweet potato anyone was selling was Sweetheart Jet Black. Not sure if Ace/Black Heart would have made tubers either, but it was interesting that the cultivar that I didn't much like (Raven) did make some.

Many thanks for all the advice! I will pot up the remaining cuttings (as you say, nothing to lose by it) and then make sure I take next year's cuttings in midsummer instead of in autumn!
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:49 AM
 
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Have you ever thought about getting a grow light? They're relatively inexpensive, and available on Amazon.


(In my case, I have ONE window for natural light, so I don't have a lot of room in the kitchen window for my plants. A grow light helps.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:15 AM
 
1,745 posts, read 1,437,857 times
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Default City Water

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCjunkie View Post
Okay, so this year I decided to get off the treadmill of buying ornamental sweet potato plants (like Blackie or Sweet Caroline) at the nursery every spring, at $5 per 4" pot, and root some cuttings from this year's plants in water. Everything online says this is as easy as rolling off a log: Take 4"-6" long cuttings at a leaf node, plop 'em in glasses of water, watch the roots develop, and when there is "a good root mass", either pot them up for the winter or leave them in water until spring planting time.

Sounded easy peasy, so I did. Took cuttings about a week before we had our first frost and put the jars of water/plants in front of a sliding glass door that gets bright light (but no strong direct sun) all day. All the cuttings developed roots (some more, some fewer) and looked great until about a week ago when leaves began fading, wilting and finally drying up. Roots have always been underwater and are still nice and white but the cuttings are dying. I started with 16 cuttings and am now down to 6, all of which are in some stage of deterioration just like the others.

What the heck did I do wrong? This is really embarassing because I'm a person who in the past has managed to keep things like Eucalyptus perriniana and Iris unguicularis alive outdoors through several Zone 7 winters which should have killed them dead with the first frost --- and yet I can't even root a sweet potato vine in water, something even a 10-year-old should be able to accomplish?

Seriously though, where'd I screw up? Thanks!



Has a lot of chlorine in it. Need to let it sit to degas the water. Essential for fish tanks.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:20 AM
 
Location: On the road
2,691 posts, read 2,047,418 times
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My grandma always put the cuttings in a shallow bowl. Once roots and leaves developed, she moved them to dirt.
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