Re-trying J Maple (acer palmatum) and other cuttings

Today, I made and am re-trying Japanese maple cuttings.

I tried last year (May
-June 2019); but all 40-50 was a 100% complete fail (n00b mistake of not even covering/enclosing them, especially in dry hot SoCal).

But, this year, I have new weapons to hopefully improve my luck/success - a mini-greenhouse for humidity, and hydrogen-peroxide for fungus/mold (used at initial soil watering and the occasional foliar mist/spray).

Cultivars are:
Akaji Nishiki
Shojo no Mai

Also in the greenhouse are:

  • Eugenia/brush-cherry (from my landscape)
  • Pyracantha (from a jog)
  • Firepower Nandina (from landscape)
  • An almost dead Kurume Azalea at the left (it’s 4 months old, and just started dying when I removed it from greenhouse to acclimate to real-world; so I re-entered it in greenhouse).
  • New Kurume Azalea cuttings in the middle (re-trying this too; as my last batch all died… seems a lot harder to root/survive than Satsuki… all my last Satsuki cuttings made it)
  • Ficus (from a jog)
  • 3 diff cultivars of pomegranate (Omi, Toyosho, Evergreen’s Red Dwarf)
  • 10 small pots of Cotoneaster Horizontalis root-cuttings (cut off from picture at the very bottom). Started the root-cuttings May 13; so idk if they will grow/survive (I heard root-cuttings should be done in late-winter/early-spring).

Really hoping these J Maples And the Kurume make it!


Added 2 humidity trays.

Found a couple junk/burnt/old baking-pans in the garage… and luckily I have a lot of gravel in my landscape/yard.


Looks like a nice propagation operation!

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Anyone know how much I should open the top/upper zipper door during hot days or in summer in zone 10b?
Like for low 80s, high 80s, 90s, 100s, etc.?

It is next to a north facing wall and also under a large date palm tree… so it gets full afternoon shade; but a little morning sun.

If yes, how much? Right now, I only have 1 zipper-side partially opened, but only 3-5" open (only to release any possible hot pressure).

You can either (it is top opening):
Partially open 1 zipper side
Fully open 1 zipper side
Fully open 2 zipper sides, and clamp 1 corner
Fully open 3 zipper sides, and clamp 2 corners (so the wind doesn’t flap it about)
Fully open 3 zipper sides and have the top fully exposed (cuttings will only have side-wind protection at this point, and all humidity released)

I use clear(milky) cheap plastic storage boxes from Costco, for retaining humidity. Water properly and seal the box, and keep closed except for a few checks on the stock until there is growth. I live in the SE US where our summers are 90% humidity and that is not enough humidity for softwood cuttings. I set/ stack the boxes under my deck which is bright but no direct sun. If there is condensation on the inside of the boxes there is enough water in the box. You can spray with fungicide is something becomes a problem. Maples are hard to root a commercial guy told me he makes cuttings before the end leaves unfurl 4000 ppm IBA for Seiryu . Also once rooted leave the cuttings in the pot until the next spring or longer. I get 0-50% rooting of JAMs softwood cuttings, and about 0-20% for hardwood cuttings. Glad I only need a few. For Junipers, boxwoods,and others I usually get 100%. Check out “The Reference Manual of woody plant propagation” By Dirr. I find my lack of experience gives me problems with the higher levels of rooting compounds Dirr recommends. Less may slow things down, too much burns the callus. Good luck


Thanks for the reply and tips!

Greenhouse and humidity may be overkill. i took several Acer P. cuttings 30+ years ago and not knowing any better simply stuck them in regular potting mix. placed them in partial shade, watered as needed and left them alone. We are in the Sacramento area, 100+ in summer with little or no humidity except when overcast. a pic is attached with a chopstick for reference. the one that didn’t make it died from over watering.
BTW, very nice propagation collection.


I tried that too for my first attempt 1 year ago (just stuck in soil, partial shade, no enclosure, water as needed, etc.)… Zero out of 50 made it, lol. (50 cuttings of various acers, azalea, nanking cherry, etc.). Humidity and an enclosure is def needed from drying out and desiccation.

Thanks! Hope they make it!

Love my new mini-greenhouse though. Already had success with countless satsuki cuttings (still perky, green, new growths after removing them from 4 months inside greenhouse, to acclimate to real-world). Now trying more cuttings inside it (in aforesaid original posts).

Almost forgot to make cuttings/backups of these ones (didn’t have any backups of these yet)… Seiju elm and Nanking cherry.

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