(Propagation) Propagation attempt of allspice

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I just acquired some allspice cuttings, courtesy of a friend. His mature plant had almost half of its top bent to the ground by either heavy rains or strong winds, and he went to snip those parts off.

The allspice is notoriously hard to propagate through vegetative means, so this is more of an (hopeful) experiment since we don’t want to waste the cuttings either.

The cuttings were mature and long enough for me to play around with them, so I more or less have sets of softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood cuttings.

I made sure to either scrape the soft outer layer of bark off the softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings, and to totally tear off about an inch of the outer layer of bark from the hardwood parts, since wounding plants seem to encourage a release of rooting hormones in the cuttings. Two branch-offs had heels too, so that might help as well.

I planted them in various media in a few pots: mature Greenback compost + volcanic sand; mature GB compost + Aquaclay leca; pure Aquaclay; pure worm cast. All the pots have been bagged up and misted to keep the humidity high.

Now…to see when/if these cuttings will root. I’m hopeful.

Note: These cuttings come from an allspice plant with rounded leaves. Some research points to the possibility that it is pimenta dioica/officinalis var. ovalifolia, so I shall refer to it as such until I’m corrected otherwise.

(Propogation) Allspice

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About half a year ago, when I heard that the nursery at Ang Mo Kio had finally – FINALLY! – released their allspice plants for sale, I rushed down and bought two plants immediately, even though each cost $30. There came a sale of 30% the month following my purchases, but ah well. Done is done.

Notoriously hard to propagate, the allspice comes from the Greater Antilles, Southern Mexico and Central America. The unripe berries are plucked and used. But one would need a separate male and female plant to achieve cross pollination. That was the reason why I bought two plants in the first place – in the hopes that one was male, and the other female.

However, I have no idea when flowers would appear. I suspect only when the plants became huge trees. Not having the space to grow the plants that large, I’ve finally hit down hard on my fears and turned to marcotting this plant.

I’ve read and done a few marcotting, myself, but mostly on plants far less expensive (though no less hard to find in Singapore) than the allspice. Still, I had to gather my guts to do it.

I did two marcotting portions on each plant.

For the first plant, I merely did slanted cuts on a semi-woody stem, smeared rooting hormone in the cuts, and wrapped worm casting around them before sealing them up with cling wrap.

For the second one, and especially the second portion, I tore out the whole layer of outer bark on one portion, smeared rooting hormone up and down the wound, and also used worm casting on it (and on the other).

I decided not to use soil this time because, well…I have excess casting for one, and also I heard that worm casting somehow encourages rooting in plants.

It was a messy affair, as usual, since my hands become like feet whenever I have to handle marcotting processes. But the slightly paste-like texture of the casting helped, so that it didn’t crumble here and there.

I’ve had to strip a few leaves. So…maybe I’ll enjoy some cups of fragrant allspice tisanes today.

Now…let’s see how long roots take to form. I hope ants don’t make nests in them!

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