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Stem plants

In response to Karen's note about stem plants, I thought I'd toss out an
observation of my own that I just never thought about mentioning before.

I have the easiest time quickly establishing stem plants if I do something
very different from the common method of stripping the lower leaves.  

The method I've observed isn't very practical in most applications, so you
may or may not be able to use it.

I just pinch off some of the stem plant and lay it on its side on top of
the gravel. with maybe a small rock or piece of wood to hold it down.  The
plant sprouts roots from several nodes immediately, and begins to grow
furiously upward, and sometimes laterally across the gravel as well.

I use this method primarily with top cuttings, particularly emersed ones.
I have a problem with emersed cuttings dieing back completely when I shove
them into the gravel.

This method appears nice to me in that I'm not tossing anything into the
substrate that might die and rot, and the plants can use more leaves
initially for photosynthesis since I don't strip them.  It's worked well
with every stem plant I've tried: H. polysperma, H. difformis, R.
rotundifolia, E. densa, A. reineckii.

For submersed cuttings, I still strip leaves and cut right below the lowest
node.  I also wrap any roots around the stem before inserting the stem in
the gravel to make sure the roots are all in the substrate.  This
root-wrapping method works will with all plants that I've encountered
except those without real roots (java fern) and those with stiff roots that
will break if you try to bend them (Anubias).

I guess my main factor of which planting method I'll use depends on whether
there are any roots on the section I'm planting.  YMMV.

I hope this helps someone out there.  :-)

David W. Webb in sunny, humid Plano, TX.