Dormant Bud Cutting....How to with Hostas
> Subject: Dormant Bud Cuttings
This is Jim Hawes article on how to make Dormant Bud Cuttings.
> Good questions.....what is it and how to do it?.
> I have been reluctant to post info on bud cuttings per your request
> because you stipulated that you wanted information from "one of our
> experts". Modesty requires that I disqualify myself but since everyone
> else is "chicken", I'll dive in.
> Taking bud cuttings is a propagation technique developed by Alex Summers
> in the late sixties. He has been using it ever since to propagate hostas
> (often rare hostas ) in the fall. I stumbled upon the technique by
> accident in the early nineties and didn't know that Alex was thirty years
> ahead of me. Alex takes bud cuttings in early October in Delaware. In
> the mountains of Maryland where fall temperature changes are three weeks
> earlier, I begin in late September. The theory and technique is as
> In late fall and sometimes earlier, at the base of each leaf on a hosta
> there is an axillary bud. This bud arose from tissue in the meristematic
> dome (the growing point).Cells in the epidermal layer (L1) and
> sub-epidermal layer (L2) of the meristem divided and differentiated to
> form a primordial leaf and a primordial apical bud in the axil of the
> leaf. Since both the leaf and the bud arose from the same cell (or cells)
> in the meristem, they are histologically identical. Therefore, if you
> select a desirable leaf form on a division, you can replicate this leaf
> form by tracing downward to the bud at the base of the leaf and
> propagating it (the bud) as a cutting. To do this, you excise this bud
> along with a portion of the rhizome which has a root or several roots
> attached and plant it. Roots will become established, the plantlet will
> go dormant and will then emerge as a single division in the spring. Of
> course, there are various techniques that can be used.
> The technique I use is as follows:
> - In the last week of September in Maryland, dig a plant to be
> propagated by bud cuttings
> - Wash roots carefully without breaking them
> - Carefully strip down all leaves on the plant, observing the
> swelled axillary buds on the inside of the petioles
> - Continue stripping down leaves until exposed buds appear to be
> very small
> - If the size of the rhizome is about the size of your thumb and you
> have removed 8 or 10 leaves exposing 8 or 10 buds, then
> - Cut down completely through the edges of the rhizome creating
> pie-shaped pieces of rhizome with a bud attached to each piece.
> - Avoid cutting off roots
> - The number of pieces of rhizome with a bud and roots will depend
> upon the size of the rhizome, the number of buds present and the amount
> root tissue that is available to be still attached to the pieces of
> - You may end up with a central portion of the division with 3 to 5
> leaves still attached. Plant this piece of the mother division.
> - Treat the bud cuttings with a fungicide dust for protection.
> - Plant bud cuttings about two inches deep in a row and label them.
> Cover with good soil,trample in to firm soil and keep watered if
> Cover with mulch in wintertime to protect plantlets from freezing
> and heaving.
> There are many variations of these techniques that can be used with
> great success. This is a wonderful and rapid method of propagating
> hostas. Try it next fall
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