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Comfrey Propagation

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  • Comfrey Propagation

    Just thought I would like to share a method for propagating comfrey that I found quite by accident but is very effective.
    All I do is keep one well established pot of comfrey and simply sit the pot where I intend to grow more comfrey, wait for the roots extend into the soil from the pot, move the pot to the next spot and within a few short weeks your comfrey root "cuttings" will spout and your done.
    So easy I love it!

    I am sure it would work for most plants that grow well from root cuttings.

  • #2
    That's tops Tegs.
    You cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it - Einstein


    • #3
      Yeah I've had that happen with comfrey too.
      Goji, Agaves (rhizomes rather than roots) and a few others too

      I took it a bit more seriously when the Poplars did it in the shade house.
      they're still there growing strong and I run the risk of having them 'become' the shade house one day


      • #4
        I've done the same thing but in reverse...
        ie. using pots to do aerial layers.
        putting the pot on an existing plant, induce root growth with in the pot, then take away a new plant and leave the parent there.
        rather than place the parent, allow new roots to grow into the ground , then remove the parent and leave the new plant behind.
        Last edited by Speedy; 21-02-2011, 11:32 PM. Reason: it's waaaay past my bedtime.......


        • #5
          2 inch pieces of root will shoot if kept moist
          "You can fix all the world's problems in a garden. .Most people don't know that"
          Music can solve all the world's problems. Not many people know that- MA 2005
          "Politicians will never solve 'The Problem' because they don't realise that they are the problem" R Parsons 2001


          • #6
            How do you get the root to grow into the pot, Speedy?


            • #7
              Marcotting (aerial layering) woody plants....
              not comfrey, I was half asleep and possibly half tanked as well when I posted that.

              but for marcotting (woody plants) , remove bark to expose cambium layer.
              use rooting hormone if needed depending on species.

              I may not have been very clear,
              reading it now it looks as if I was talking specifically about comfrey,
              but I meant plants escaping pots ( or getting into them) generally.
              sorry 'bout that
              Last edited by Speedy; 22-02-2011, 05:39 PM. Reason: grammar?


              • #8
                I'm still not understanding how you get the roots into the pot ;-) I understand the basics of aerial rooting. Are you talking about big plants so the roots are long enough to get to the top of the pot?


                • #9
                  A method for Aerial Layering in a pot.

                  For aerial layering in plastic pots I'll use 2 identical plastic pots.
                  Cut a hole in the bottom of both of them the same size as the stem diameter.
                  then cut a slit from the hole to the rim on both of them.
                  it can be straight but I prefer to make a helical split clockwise on one , anti-clockwise on the other.
                  prepare the stem to be marcotted in the normal way ( rip the barkor cut and remove bark, apply hormone if desired etc.)
                  put the two pots on the stem one at a time with the pots eventually one inside the other.
                  the idea of the helical (spiral) cuts is that they will only meet at one point and not lose the potting media.
                  Tie a piece of thick twine around the stem on which to rest the pots weight.
                  Fill it with potting mix/soil etc. and keep it moist til it takes root.
                  when the rootsystem is developed enough ( roots appearing near drainage holes of pot)
                  detach from parent plant.

                  I've used this method for a few different plants, including a bamboo (Nastus elatus).


                  • #10
                    So the two pots are on a living plant stem still attached to the parent plant?
                    And they are facing each other ie open end to open end, to keep the potting mix inside?
                    How do you know when roots have started to grow? I gather you then chop the living plant stem as it enters the bottom pot, and in between the 2 pots and grow the cuttings on for a bit before transplanting.

                    And what sized pots?

                    I'm gunna have to give this a go just to see what happens... Will it work on an avocado? I could do with another tree...


                    • #11
                      No, one pot inside the other to make up for the fact that there is a cut in the side of each one.
                      so it doesn't all fall apart

                      technically you should be able to do it, but avos are mostly grafted.
                      I've not heard of them being done as marcots, I reckon it's probably been done though.

                      I think it would work best if you first etiolate the section of stem you want to induce roots .
                      ie. cover the section of stem with something (say black plastic or cardboard and held with heavy duty adhesive tape)
                      to exclude ALL light until it loses all the chlorophyll in that section of bark.
                      then remove the covering and prepare as a marcot and it could work.
                      The etiolation process could take weeks or months before it's ready.

                      Avocado clonal rootstocks (eg. 'Duke7' for Phytophthora better tolerance) are grafted to a seedling rootstock,
                      etiolated, then covered with potting mix til they take root as the seedling tries to grow but is strangled by a wire ring fastened to it at etiolation stage.

                      so yes, Avos could be done via marcot.

                      pot size.... whatever is practical for the size job 100mm-200mm dia pots would be most appropriate.


                      • #12
                        Ok - I think I've got a mental image of how it works. How do you stop the potting mix from falling out of the pot though?
                        Maybe my mulberry tree might be a better one to play with. OOOOO the possibilities!


                        • #13
                          Found this on marcotting
                          Duh! I got it now - I had a vision of the branch being horizontal so all the potting mix fell out. But if the branch is vertical it works.


                          • #14
                            it's made on an upright branch.
                            you may need to tie string or elastic around the pot to prevent it falling open a bit, but thats why the two pots.
                            If you wanted to , you could cover the mix with some coir fibre or cloth of some sort.
                            the main thing being moisture and air at the right ratio ( like in soil) and excluding light.
                            the pot is receptacle to holdit there.
                            same as a plastic or hessian bag full of peat, coir peat, soil, leached cow manure or whatever, when doing traditional marcotting.

                            mulberry should work well.
                            citrus, guava, feijoa, longan, litchi, jambu, fig, rambutan etc.

                            many species not traditionally propagated via marcotting can be done.
                            ok for a tree or two , but a commercial nursery wont 'waste time' on it if they can be grafted or budded onto seedlings or grown via cuttings.
                            For the home gardener though, it provides a way to propagate a tree identical genetically to the parent, with mature wood (ie. will fruit earlier than seedling)

                            a good size tree can be produced in a season when a grafted tree may take up to tree years after growing seed, 1yr, 2yrs til big enough
                            to graft or bud then a season for the scion to grow big enough ready to be planted out
                            and timing is not as critical as with budding or grafting.

                            Apples, plums, pears, peaches, cherries, etc. are not traditionally marcotted, but I see no reason why they wouldnt work.
                            keeping in mind that a tree on it's own roots may not have the advantages that some rootstocks give to the trees.

                            Marcotting , like grafting and budding, is a handy skill to have, more gardeners should learn about and practice it.

                            Tegs, Sorry for hijacking the thread it sort of took its own course
                            Last edited by Speedy; 23-02-2011, 11:35 PM. Reason: just coz.......


                            • #15
                              No apology needed, I've been taking notes