By Petr Kupcak, Czechia
Translated from Russian by Irina Ten
The process of vegetative propagation of cacti, rooting of stocks and scions is usually accompanied by slowing down of growth, dehydration and weakening of a plant. The cause of it could be allowing the cut to dry and placing the plant in a warm dry place immediately after treating the cut with rooting stimulators. Besides, if you remember, it used to be usually recommended to keep a cut cactus dry until roots appear. I suggest that this period of stress should be reduced to minimum. There is a method to help roots grow quickly.
For root growth stimulation I use highly potent chemical - Rhizopon, made in Holland. It has two forms: soluble tablets and powder with different concentration rate. The manufacturer recommends combining powder and tablet solution. For cacti I use Rhizopon AA type, 2% powder. In two weeks after treatment the plant develops vigorous root system containing eight or more branches with ready root hairs! Next, I place treated cacti in dry place for 3-5 days and keep temperature near 25oC. After that period I pot them in pure agroperlite and in one week start to water them, adding fungicide to water to prevent stagnation. The temperature recommended by a manufacturer is 18oC. Sometimes I had a feeling as if a plant was literally pushed out of soil by speedy growing roots.
Now let's return to the so called stress phase caused by prolonged staying in dry environment. I get out of the situation by following way. The surface of the cut is treated by solution of root stimulator Atonik or Sviton (0.33%). So the plant cells receive growth hormones; the state of whole plant improves and roots emerge sooner.
Using of growth stimulator allows for applying fertilizers. If not for a stimulator, a cactus without roots wouldn't be able to absorb them. One more advantage of the stimulators is that they don't accumulate in plant's tissues and can be used for a long time.
Although the imported chemicals are not cheap, the expenses are undoubtedly compensated by reduction in plant's death risks and by a possibility of quick and successful propagation of different species of cacti, even the rare ones. Besides, the stimulators can be also used for acceleration of seed germination, increasing production of pollen, improving health of a whole plant, especially in the beginning of vegetative season.