Willow Leaf Ficus Cuttings--Why Can't I

Gandalph

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Man,
I have gotten cuttings going from every other Ficus species there is Benji, Retusa etc. but just can't seem to get Willow Leaf cuttings to survive. I've tried water, perlite, turface, sand, a mixture of bonsai soils, succulent mix, etc. and can't seem to find a good medium. I've tried small cuttings large ones and all sizes in between.

I have gotten Brazilian Raintree, Bahamian Mimosa and Acacia cuttings all take root INSIDE, but not my !@#$% Willow leaf !!

Can anyone provide a surefire way to get these things to root?

Thanks in advance
 

jk_lewis

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Dunno. I stick them in the sand and stand back. Do you use rooting hormone?

Remember that they do not like wet feet.
 

treebeard55

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Gandalph, I've found willow-leaf cuttings a little more chancy than F. microcarpa, for example; but I still get better than 50%.

I usually use Turface, with the fines sifted out. High humidity around them is more important than with some other figs, as well as making sure they never dry out after they're stuck. (I've lost more cuttings that way!) Rooting hormone might help too, or just a cold slush made from fresh willow bark. (Keep it cold, or the hormones start to break down.)

I realize I may have touched on some things you already know. No offense, I just don't know your level of experience.
 

Si Nguyen

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I will second what JKL and Treebeard said already. In my experience , it is crucial to have high humidity in the container and loose inorganic soil. I use pumice or turface only, and just put a bag over the bucket to keep it humid. I almost never water it once it is covered, for about 2-3 months. Sometimes I keep the plastic cover on for a whole year and only open it occasionally to check soil and to water very sparingly. Do not water it every day or even every week. The tap water is really bad, at least in my city. It is the high humidity and warmth that keep the foliage alive long enough for it to take roots.
Here's a picture of my ficus cuttings set up.
 

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Si Nguyen

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And here are some pics from this morning of my willow-leaf ficus cuttings. I started these about early September of last year. They are in 15-gallon nursery cans, in 100% pumice, no rooting hormones, covered by a white trash bag for 5-6 months, and watered about once every 2-3 months. The cuttings start out at about 6-12 inches long. I don't trim them short. I usually just take the whole branch and stick it in the bucket. If I had taller trash cans, I think I could do longer cuttings. I get about 80-90% survival rate, but most of the losses actually come after 5-6 months when I uncover it and start to water it too much.
 

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Bill S

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I have decent luck, and I cut off the prunings, and stick them in a pot of dirt, don't cover at all, just water and wait. Like Si. I loose them after the fact if anything, over or underwatered is usually the culprit, because at that point they jus aren't that important.
 

Gandalph

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Thanks for the experiences guys.

I have tried them them in straight turface, but maybe lack of humidity was the problem, although they were placed in a small indoor greenhouse I have..maybe I'll make a "Pot Specific" humidity tent next time. Have used both powdered and liquid rooting hormone.

I read somewhere that one guy takes all the foliage off before planting. Any comments on that?

I have had pretty good luck with deciduous cuttings rooting in coconut fiber mulch, the kind you use in reptile cages. Stays moist, but not real wet. I think I'll try that next time and report.
 
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Gandalph

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I have decent luck, and I cut off the prunings, and stick them in a pot of dirt, don't cover at all, just water and wait. Like Si. I loose them after the fact if anything, over or underwatered is usually the culprit, because at that point they jus aren't that important.

Hey Bill,

You talkin' like potting soil?
 

PeterW

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Have you tried root cuttings with the nerafolia's? I seem to get 100% strike rate with them......but my growing climate here (Queensland, Australia) is probably much more suitable for them then yours. It would seem that all i have to do to strike cuttings from nerafolia is to drop a cutting on the ground and it will generally shoot!
 

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Redwood Ryan

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Have you tried root cuttings with the nerafolia's? I seem to get 100% strike rate with them......but my growing climate here (Queensland, Australia) is probably much more suitable for them then yours. It would seem that all i have to do to strike cuttings from nerafolia is to drop a cutting on the ground and it will generally shoot!

Hey Peter (and I don't mean to hijack the thread!),

Do you expose most of the root? From what I've heard you only expose an inch or two, but your pictures show otherwise. Thanks!
 

PeterW

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Depends entirely on the piece of root Ryan. As far as i can tell, it makes absolutely no difference. Some i have planted as a future exposed root.
 

Bill S

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Gandalph, no I mean dirt, a few scoops in a nursery can and it sits and collects cuttings all summer. I don't do much more than keep it watered, it sits outside too, semi shaded at least. The more I try to do the right thing with something like this the worse my luck is, I use the don't care method and it works best for me.
 

Crassula king

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Hey Bill,

You talkin' like potting soil?
I am pretty sure he is talking about coconut coir. The stuff that usually comes I a compact brick before you soak it in water. Is that right?
 

Crassula king

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I am pretty sure he is talking about coconut coir. The stuff that usually comes I a compact brick before you soak it in water. Is that right?
Oh, my mistake. I thought you were asking gandalph.
 

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