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Propagating Variegated Dogwoods
The variegated dogwood tree is a nice plant to grow in any landscape. During the winter, the red or yellow stems stand out against the snow. When spring and summer comes, the leaves are variegated with light and dark green patterns. Depending on the variety you want to grow and propagate, the variegated dogwood is hardy in United States Department of Agriculture zones 2 through 9. The height of the variegated dogwood grows to about 8 to 10 feet, with an equal spread. Instead of buying another variegated dogwood plant at the nursery, why not try to root your own cuttings. It is an easy solution and can save you a lot of money.
Before you take any cuttings, you should get your pots ready. This way the cuttings won't have to sit and wait while you do it later. Find some 4-inch pots. Coffee filters and potting soil. Place a coffee filter in the bottom of each pot. The coffee filter keeps the soil in the pot, every time you water. Fill the 4-inch pots with potting soil. Fill as many containers as you will have cuttings to root. Also, find some clear plastic bags. You will need those to put the pots into to help raise humidity.
Moisten the potting soil in the pots with water. Thoroughly wet the potting soil, and then set the pots on a drainage rack so the water can finish draining.
Now go out to you or your friend's variegated dogwood shrub. Be sure to ask permission first so you don't get into trouble with the plant's owner.
The best time to take cuttings is from June through August, or you can also take cuttings when the variegated dogwood goes dormant. Examine the variegated dogwood tree to find the new or softwood. Test the stems to discover whether it is new or soft wood. This is done by bending the stem and if it does not break or snap, it is softwood. Older wood is brown and it will snap when bent. Disinfect a pair of pruning shears with rubbing alcohol. This will prevent the spread of disease on the off-chance that the shears have been used on diseased wood. When you take cuttings, choose sections that are about the thickness of a pencil and then cut a 5 to 6 inch length of stem.
Wrap the stems in a wet paper towel while you take your cuttings so they won't dry out. When you get home, to your pots, prepare the cuttings for planting. Remove the leaves from the cutting, but leave the top two to four leaves on the stem.
Wet the leafless end in some water and shake off the excess water. Dip the wet end into rooting hormone and shake off the excess. You don't need to dip the end in rooting hormone if you don't have any. Some people say that it helps the roots to form faster, while others say that they noticed no difference.
Find a pencil or an old pen and use that to make a hole in the damp soil. Insert the end with rooting hormone into the hole. Firm the soil in place around the cutting with your fingers. Repeat the above steps if you have multiple cuttings.
Place a clear plastic bag over the top of the pots to help raise humidity. Find a location to put your pots. It should be in a warm and brightly lit spot, but keep the plants out of direct sunlight otherwise the cuttings will be too hot.
Check the cuttings every day and water to keep the soil evenly moist. Do not over water, because it will rot the cuttings. You will need patience for these cuttings to root, because it can take at least a month or more before any roots form.
After a month, check the cuttings for roots. Gently pull on the cuttings and if they move easily, the cuttings haven't formed roots. There should be a resistance when you try to pull on the stem. You can also tell by looking at the cutting. If you see new growth, then the roots have formed. It is at this stage that you can remove the plastic bags. Continue to grow the variegated dogwood in small pots until it is well rooted.
Transplant the cuttings into larger pots and grow for one year before transplanting in the garden.
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