Rooting Cuttings in Sphagnum Moss Rolls
Written by Mary Voss
Saturday, 28 March 2009 21:57

I started using this method of rooting cuttings when I needed to root a lot of cuttings in a small space.

Supplies needed:

  • Clear Plastic Garbage bags – it is important to find clear ones so you can see the roots. You can use any type of clear plastic, it was just pretty cheap to buy a large roll of clear plastic bags at Sam’s.
  • Duct Tape to tape the rolls closed
  • Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss
  • Water proof marking pen
  • If desired, some sort of liquid rooting hormone to put in the water such as SuperThrive.

Begin by gathering all your supplies and your cuttings. I put cuttings of the same cultivar in a roll so there is no confusion. The cuttings are best of they are larger, woody cuttings, not soft green cuttings.

Lay out the plastic garbage bag flat on a table. Do not cut it open, it is about the right size without cutting. Put the moss in a large bucket and moisten well with water to which you have added rooting hormone if you desire. Take a big handful of the moss, squeeze out as much excess water as you can, and place it toward the center of the bag leaving about 1-2 inch margins all around the bag.

Place your cuttings on top of the moss spaced evenly. Then roll up the plastic starting at one end all the way to the other end. Roll up fairly tightly to help hold it all in.

Tape the roll tightly. I use duct tape. Then I mark the duct tape with the name of the cultivar in the roll. You could also add the date and any hormone you used in case you wanted to compare success of various methods. The bottoms are left open for drainage and the rolls placed standing inside nursery trays that are also open to allow drainage. The rolls never sit in water, as that would encourage rot. The moss is watered when it begins to feel fairly dry or new growth starts to droop.

You can fit a lot of cuttings in a small space like this. I have left them in these rolls almost all of the winter before. This is an updated picture of how the cuttings are looking toward the end of the winter in the greenhouse. You can see the roots on the bottom of the roll. The roots are also easily visible through the sides of the roll. When you are ready to pot them up, unroll the packages very carefully and try to disturb the moss/roots as little as possible. I have lost some well rooted cuttings after potting them up because I pulled too much moss off the roots and disturbed the roots too much.