Garrya Elliptica - Dang! a Bust Again

As I wrote in early February, I volunteer once a month with the propagation group of our local chapter of the California Native Plant Society. In that post, I passed along propagation tips from Denise Polk, a horticulturist who works at University of Santa Cruz. At the March session I again buttonholed Denise who generously gave me some more great advice as we worked at the potting bench. This post is about the Garrya cuttings. I'll do a separate post about the seedlings.

Here is how the freshly potted Garrya cuttings looked in January. I got the cuttings at a pruning class:

Here's the situation today:

Not good! Basically one after another all got black spots and turned gray. Some have black spots and did not turn gray and I put those outside as it's warmer now, just to give them a chance. One thing I know nothing about is pest control and I've let this fungus just go. I need to look up what I could have done. I got dispirited basically and gave up. Readers with tips, please advise!

So here's Denise's advice which I will follow on my next attempt!

“I found that when taking Garrya cuttings, they have a very narrow window of time when they’ll root, and it’s usually like mid-December is when I find that it works. That doesn’t mean that’s an absolute – that’s just what I found works for me.”

“And when you prep the cuttings, instead of cutting really close to the node like you do on most plants, leave about a quarter of an inch space because they tend to root below the node, not at the node. I don’t know physiologically what it is but I’ve just found that you have to leave a little extra. And I use Hormex 8 rooting powder.”

“I did about 21 of them, and I’ve only got 4 left that don’t have a black spot on them. And I’m afraid to pull on them in case they haven’t rooted.”

“It’s not an easy one to do. A lot of people have a real hard time with Garryas. Keep on trying. In the literature I have read that bottom heat seems to work. In the propagation area of a professional grower, the normal setting is like 70 degrees. I have heard Garryas need 80 degrees. I tried that and I couldn’t keep it moist enough, it dried out the mix too much.”

“They’ve definitely been too cold where I have them.” (On the bathroom floor. It’s about the coldest room in the house actually.)

“That might contribute to the rotting and leaf spotting too.”

“If there’s one or two surviving maybe I’ll take them upstairs where it’s warmer”

“Into the kitchen maybe.”

-- Even the last one in the picture above has a little black area - I will cut the leaf off and put it in the kitchen as soon as I click "Publish Post!"

Then I'll have a more cheerful post - about the seedlings.


Gail said…
So very sorry...this is why I gave up trying to sow seeds in doors...I don't have anyplace for them...and they would get a black mold and croak! Good luck, I hope you have success with other sowings...gail
ryan said…
I tried a few garrya cuttings once, but they didn't strike. Too hard, I stick to the easier plants.
Flowerpot said…
sigh .... me too....(just read your thing on garrya cuttings ) So I am trying sticking one cutting into the ground outside and one cutting in a jug of water with a freshly cut willow shoot (which is supposed to aid rooting )on the kitchen windowsill . I really want a Garrya Elliptica bush in my garden all dripping with beautiful catkins ! : )
Country Mouse said…
Sorry Flowerpot - I didn't notice comments were "waiting moderation" - I just published yours. I caved in and just bought a couple - they are doing OK, not great. I was told that cutting them a bit below the node instead of at the node might be helpful. Maybe bottom heat might help? I'm not sure. Interesting about the willow shoot! I'll have to remember that tip.