One of the best tips I can pass along to improve your plant transplanting and your propagation is to use an antidesiccant.
These products (Wilt-pruf is one name and I have used it for years) (Amazon) are essentially organic oils that are sprayed onto a plant. When the material dries, it creates a thin layer that blocks the leaf stomata.
A blocked stomata (plant sweat pore) means the leaf can’t lose moisture.
Losing moisture or wilting is the main cause of plant death in propagation or transplanting. I routinely spray my shrubs and definitely spray evergreens when they’re transplanted in the spring. The roots can establish themselves and by the time the material wears off (60-90 days) the plant is strongly growing and doing well.
Annual and perennial plants grow right on through this material and new leaves are not bothered by it at all. I don’t spray annuals in the spring when I’m transplanting – I water them properly and they survive nicely. 🙂
Antidesiccants can also be used to spray broadleafed plants in the late fall so winter burning is reduced. Full directions for this are on the label.
When Taking Cuttings Of Annual Plants Such As Geraniums
I also spray my annual plants an hour or so before I take cuttings.
This lets the material dry and harden and then when I take the cutting, it doesn’t lose moisture and tends to root quite nicely without having to use rooting hormone.
An Important Caution
You’d think this would be simple but here’s a caution.
This material will gum up your sprayer really, really quickly if you don’t rinse the sprayer immediately after use.
I purchase the Wilt-Pruf – 1 Quart Concentrate and use my own small handsprayers. That way if (and when) the nozzle clogs up, I simply recycle the sprayer and use a new one.
Immediately after spraying, fill the sprayer with water and spray the bottle again to clear the nozzle.
Premium: You still need to use the other propagation techniques for effective plant cuttings but an antidesiccant really gives you an edge.
This Doesn’t Eliminate The Basics
This is only one small technique to use to improve your plant propagation work and get free plants for your garden. 🙂 If you ignore the other basics, like bottom heat, this product won’t make up for those problems.
If you have questions about plant propagation techniques, you’ll find many answers right here