by Carmen Coll
(Manotick, Ontario, Canada)
I took a clipping of a bay leaf tree and I am wondering how I can get it to root.
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Hi Carmen, you've started off with one of the most difficult plants to root! I've never had any success with growing these from cuttings, and I've tried several times. However, you may just hit on exactly the right thing, and most importantly, the right timing.
Here are a few things to try:
Scrape off a little bit of the side bark at the bottom of your cutting. Use some kind of rooting hormone, such as Stim Root #3, which is for hardwood cuttings.
Stick the cutting into a small pot of damp (not wet) sterilized potting soil, and place the whole thing inside a clear plastic grocery or bread bag. Blow into the bag to expand it.
This is my secret ingredient! Blowing into the bag does two things: one, it keeps the bag from touching the cutting, and two, it adds a critical and essential chemical to the environment of the plant - Carbon Dioxide.
The rooting process depends on many factors.
The age of the mother plant, and its health and condition; the size and growth stage of the cutting itself; the light and warmth of the place where it is placed to root (should be bright and warm, but not in full sun, or too hot - cuttings root best with bottom heat, hence the common practice of putting seedlings and cuttings on top of a refrigerator - although with power smart appliances, the top doesn't get as warm as older models).
All these factors come into play - if all the stars align, you'll get roots.
Good luck with your baby bay tree!