Reproduction of bonsai trees: Cuttings
The cuttings reproduction is a neutral (vegetate) way of reproduction. Basically, this is a faster way than reproduction through seeds; gamogenetically. The final effect, the bonsai tree, will be achieved faster in general.
Taking the cuttings off
The cutting must not be too short or too long. Recommended length is about 5-10 cm and it should contain 4-5 knots. Leafs must be healthy and breezy. The cutting must be cut near under any knot (about 2-3mm below it). The knot is a place where a leaf connects to the stem. In general, you should use a sharp knife for this purpose. Bottom leafs should be removed as well as sprouts. Any cutting with sprouts will not root, or will root with difficulties. Of course, the process of creating the cutting must be very fast and every task must be followed by another task. The cutting must not fade because after doing the cut, there will not be any water flowing into it from the maternal plant. But evaporating from leafs continue. This is why it is recommended to dabble the cutting into the water for a while, and to cover it with a carry bag. Also bear in mind that the cutting has no organs for receiving water, but the evaporating process and photosynthesis continues.
Recommended substrate for cuttings
The soil determines if the cutting will root or if it will die later. Firstly, the soil must not contain any seeds of weed and no disease-producing seeds as well. The cutting is very sensitive in the beginning and it would easily succumb any disease. Secondly, the soil must not contain too many nutriments. It is because the system of roots will develop itself much faster with less nutriments than if it had enough nutriments in the ground. Naturally, if the soil contains enough nutriments, there is no need for roots at all. A reliable substrate for reproduction through cuttings is a mixture of peat and sand. The peat is of organic origin and it has good ability to catch water and when it's saturated with water, then it easily contains enough oxygen. In addition, it is sterile and doesn't contain any nutriments. The sand is of mineral origin. It badly suppresses water and this is why it helps aerating the soil. We can use pearlite instead of sand. The mixture is prepared with ratio 1:1 (peat:sand).
The growth substances
For better rooting of the cuttings you may use some growth simulators. Their usage is based on the knowledge that the plant creates it's own growth substances in the leafs. This is why there must be as much leafs as possible on the plant. Generally, growth simulators are used for plants which don't root easily. Of course, there are a lot of products available in shops and the usage is very similar no matter which one you buy. The cut end must get dry a little, then simply put it into the stimulator for a short while, and slightly shake it.
Planting the cuttings
We can use any container for planting. It is important to secure suitable conditions for the future growth of all cuttings. Sift the soil into the container and slightly flatten it. Also, it is important to keep the air inside of the soil, and you must also make sure that the soil is flatten enough so the cutting will not drop out. Before you place the cutting inside of the container, create a small hole in it (in the soil, of course). Then put the future bonsai tree into such hole. Bear in mind that the cutting must not be placed too much deep, but it must be placed shallow because it needs sufficient stream of air. So just slightly push and it's done.
Providing the site for reproduction
We must realise that the sufficient humidity near the cutting must be secured; This is very important aspect within this kind of reproduction. This is why you should superimpose the container with cuttings. If you have a small flower-pot, then it is possible to close it with with a conserve-cup or a carry bag. Naturally, uncover it each day for about 5-10 minutes otherwise they could decompose. The container with cuttings should be placed nearby window orientated to the East, West or South. However, don't put them on the place with direct sunlight because of overheating. Successful rooting is mainly the result of proper water temperature which should vary between 20°C and 24°C.
Providing the water
This kind of reproduction means that it is not necessary to water the cuttings. When you keep the humidity at a high level, the water will not be evaporating from the soil.
Feel free to check which trees can be reproduced through cuttings in our bonsai guide.
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