Monday, June 28, 2010

Shipping hoyas

None of the best methods to send Hoya cuttings ( and plants in general ) are absolutely safe. Plants in travel will be like on a scale with a " too dry " end and a ' too wet" end. The number of days in travel, temperature and humidity may turn an excellent method into a bad choice.
Gel in box or a plastic bag wrapping plants in paper ( a simple plastic sheet or a bubble wrap ) are useful to prevent plants from dehydrating; but unusally high temperature, long travel bare stems ( or bare roots ) or excessive humidity in the air can contribute to defoliation - which does not mean that the plants are dead as the loss of leaves is a natural process of adjustment : defoliation may for instance happen during the dry season or during dormancy. Worthy to note, some fundamentalist phytosanitary staff under the European Community regulations may forbid importing some plants that still bear leaves while being in their supposedly known state of dormancy. ( Fortunately this doesn't concern the Hoya genus. )
However whatever the reason for the loss of leaves, bare cuttings may be harder to root, while a very dehydrated cutting - I mean a dry stick - is just dead.
Below is a balanced report from Canada :
" I came home today to find a box from Aleya garden waiting for me in the garage.

Here they are having a bath : Aleyagarden cuttings have a bath on arrival
Bottom left to right:H. imperialisH. chloranthaH. lobbiiH. ariadnaH. onychoides
Top:H. densifolia.
The ariadna is looking pretty beat up, but the rest of the cuttings are huge (The container is 1.5' x 2.5') and healthy apart from a bit of wrinkling in their upper leaves. I was afraid Canadian customs might confiscate them or delay the shipment, but they arrived about 12 days after shipping. Now if I can just fight the urge to pot them up right away and let them soak instead.

They're all done soaking now, so I've gone and potted them up.
Aleyagarden Cuttings after soaking
I've always used clay pots for rooting, although I soaked them overnight along with the cuttings to saturate them first.The cuttings are double bagged, one from the bottom and one domed over top and then taped loosely. The pots would dry very quickly if exposed to open air, but I find that when they're bagged like this they retain moisture very well and serve quite nicely to increase the humidity especially if sprayed gently with a bit of water every few days.After the cuttings have rooted I remove the top bag for about a week before removing the bottom bag.
I just though I'd mention to anyone planning to order from Aleya garden that they offer several shipping options for cuttings. It's in a paragraph at the top of their cuttings page.I'd recommend contacting them and asking for the cuttings to be shipped wrapped in paper and a plastic bag. Some people report that wrapping in plastic causes yellowing and leaf drop, but it seems to have worked very well for my cuttings and the H. lobbii and H. onychoides even started to root in transit. The only one to yellow was the ariadna and there was only one leaf dropped after 12 days in transit.

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