Best Soil Mix for Rooting Cuttings

The success of propagating any plant from cutting depends highly on the type of rooting media for propagation. Any medium which provides moisture and oxygen in the right balance and is free of disease, insects and weed seeds can be used for propagating cuttings.

The rooting media qualities and requirement are considered and the best soil mix is recommended for successfully rooting cuttings.

The Rooting Media Requirement

Any medium like sand, garden soil or water can be used for propagation of cuttings. However, it should be kept in mind while choosing a rooting medium is that our main purpose is to have root growth and not leaves, so the rooting media should not be fertile and also unpasteurized media can contain bacteria, fungi and microbes that may rdestroy the plant's growth.

According to the North Carolina State University, “The rooting medium should be sterile, low in fertility, and well-drained to provide sufficient aeration. It should also retain enough moisture so that watering does not have to be done too frequently. Materials commonly used are coarse sand, a mixture of one part peat and one part perlite (by volume), or one part peat and one part sand (by volume). Vermiculite .... is not recommended, because it .... tends to hold too much moisture.”
Picture of Propagated Bougainvillea growing in a pot
Propagated Bougainvillea growing in a pot

Plant propagation methods | How to take cuttings | Plant propagation methods | Hardwood and softwood cuttings for propagation

  1. The medium in which the roots form should be porous for good aeration and drainage. The roots will rot if there is no air. Capable of moisture retention.
  2. Low in fertilization to avoid root burning when they form. Also the cuttings do not have roots to be able to use it.
  3. The media should not have any organic matter for diseases and microbes.
  4. Materials commonly used as propagating medium are coarse river sand, regular potting mix, coconut coir, perlite, peat or a mixture of these.
  5. An equal mix of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite can be used as a rooting medium.
  6. River sand alone can be used. I generally use garden potting mix and river sand in equal amounts with high success rate.
  7. Do not use beach sand because it does not allow for sufficient aeration, however, coarse river sand is good.
  8. For propagation for cactus-type plants and bougainvillea, coarse perlite or river sand alone can be used to start some cuttings.