Saturday 10 February 2024

Propagating With Sand.

 Regular readers know that one of my hobbies nay obsession is the propagating of plants 🪴 either by division or by cuttings.

I do have a lot of success with both methods but I do get some casualties that don't strike roots and even rot and die.

I blame a lot on climate change and our winters getting increasingly wetter.  Especially here in the Southwest of Ireland 🇮🇪 where it is very mild and Kerry and Cork are the two wettest counties in Hibernia.  

It's never seemed to let up since last May June Bank holiday when it was roasting and I saw Michael Schenker and his band play in Donegal.

Griselina cuttings in plant pots filled with sand.

I make my own potting/cutting mix but I think even the organic compost materials may contributing in aiding vegetation to rot.

So I am experimenting with just sand in plant pots.  See above 📸 photo.

It will be interesting to compare results with cuttings grown in my homemade potting mix.  Sand will not have much if any nutrients in it but hopefully the cuttings will not rot?

I am using sand that is just quarried crushed  sandstone or you could buy river sand.  But we don't want sea sand because that's got sea salt in it and the plants won't like that will they?  Some builders sands also have chemicals in them.

Do you propagate with sand or whatever growing medium do you use?

I'm tired of buying bought compost and now I make my own.  I will discuss this in another post.  I will still buy seed compost though.  Like I say I will write a post about homemade compost another day.

Don't worry I will blog about something completely off subject tomorrow.


  1. Yes, I have used a compost and grit mix..but sand makes sense. Apparently the grittiness stimulates root growing, although I have seen cuttings struck in perlite ( the white one..not vermiculite).
    I suppose one point is not having cuttings over wet, so sand or grit drains well

  2. Hi GZ. I echo your thoughts. The photo is taken in the polytunnel because conditions are very wet for over wintering cuttings outside. Although I do have some outside and they are slowly striking roots, much slower than in the polytunnel. I suppose I could put a cloche or make a frame for them? I also think watering at the right time. Maybe even misting with a sprayer? Mother Nature won't worry like me and she will make we have plenty of rooted cuttings this Spring. Thanks.

  3. I purchased sphagnum moss a couple years ago from a licensed producer, it's been in a huge plant pot saucer in my greenhouse, in the shade, I have used it for cuttings and it works well, it grows, so I have been able to give some to a couple gardening friends. I just pop the cutting in the moss, and when the roots form, I pull some of the moss out and plant it all up.

  4. Thanks Poppypatchwork. I have never used it. I suppose I could find some in a bog near me. I suppose you're not supposed to collect it? I collect seaweed so why not some Spagnum moss? Garden centres will sell it but I rarely go in them because they are too expensive. Unless you buy a plant that you haven't got and take it home and make two out of it. Thanks again for the tip.

  5. I never seem to have much success with my cuttings. Probably too wet here. Perhaps I need to try sand.

  6. I bet you wish you still lived in Tenerife JayCee? I would love to live in Portugal well at least for the gale season. I would try sand or spagnum moss in the greenhouse. I will write a post in a few weeks and compare results with cuttings in sand and cuttings grown in my homemade potting mix. I know people who just place their Griselina cuttings in the soil in the veg plot and they are very successful at striking roots and forming new plants. Good luck JayCee.

  7. When I was at primary school, we propagated broad beans in sawdust-filled jam jars. Blotting paper was also involved.

    1. We use to grow peas in saturated paper towels at primary school YP. I think horticultural learning should be part of the curriculum even school gardens?

  8. I used to keep cuttings in jars of water until roots began growing then I would pot them and keep them in shade or semi shade depending on season until they were making steady growth. I don't do any of that any more, but it worked reasonably well. Not for vegetables of course.

  9. Yes I have grown cuttings in water River. Hydroponic growing without using soil is becoming quite popular. Rosemary cuttings root quite easily in jars of water.

  10. You can rave for England (or 'for Africa' as we say back in Downunder) about plant propogation - a subject I don't get tired of. I hope you sand works. Do you see in news recently that the world expects to run out of river sand in the next couple of decades - we are using it up in construction. That surprised me, but I guess everything is finite.

  11. I didn't know that River sand was running out neither.


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