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Will the brown woody stem root, or do you need a nice green stem for a cutting?

I have a N. maxia x alata that is about 10" of brown woody stem with about 2 - 3" of green at the end. There are 6 or so nice healthy leaves (some with young pitchers) plus the growing tip. I would really love to get rid of all that brown woody stem. Do I need to wait until it goes into vining mode and make a regular cutting out of it, or can I cut off the woody stem, strip off the bottom 2 or 3 leaves and try to root that? I am under the impression that only a green stem will root and the woody stem will not, perhaps I am wrong. I really don't want to kill it, but that long woody stem takes up a lot of room.
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I've rooted woody ventrata stems before. They just take a bit longer and seem to stay sensitive and finicky until they root really hard.
In January I rooted three rafflesiana cuttings made from the woody part of the stem. So far I've seen good root growth but no side shoots. Hope that helps! ???
chances are much greater if there's a root system established. i've had success with jamban, talangensis, and glabrata this way.
Amphirion, I'm not sure I understand your answer.
gah....sorry about that rocketcaver.... i should have read the question thoroughly instead of skimming it. :blush:

the chances of just a woody stem without a growth point or activated node rooting is much more difficult than with those growth points because the plant must work off energies only found in the wooden stem since there are no leaves/green to replenish that energy via photosynthesis. that being said, i would argue the best approach would be to decapitate the main stem, and keep the long wooden stem intact with it's roots. this way, the plant can still draw nutrients from the roots, which will allow it to activate its dormant nodes. once when these nodes are activated (at least 3 leaves into development), you can then cut the stems accordingly to the activated sites--the cuttings will have a higher chance of striking this way.
I've found that cutting slits up the woody stem at the bottom about 1/2-3/4" help root- the roots end up coming out of these slits. I also use a rooting powder stuff (green light from Lowes). Here is an example from 2005 with N. thorelii x truncata that Ludwig777 had sent me...

Here is a quick shot of the plant in question just for clarification.


  • N maxia x alata.jpg
    N maxia x alata.jpg
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My suggestion would be to wait until a basal forms. Then cut the green part of the vine and root it. It would be probable that new growth will form on the woody stem if left attached to the basal. When new growth is mature enough on the woody stem, you can cut the stem and root it. This will net you three or more plants depending on how many nodes activate on the stem. Of course there is a chance that the stem won't activate any nodes, and then you are left with two. Which was your original intent, I believe.

In my research and personal experience, you can encourage basal growth when the vine is left to grow horizontally or the pot is tilted at an angle.
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Well, actually the intent was to just get rid of the unsightly woody stem. There really is no hurry however, so I have adopted a long term approach (see photo). Don't know if this will work or not, but I'm not out anything except a little time and rack space.


Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
  • #11
Basically you're attempting "air layering" run some searches for that, definitely an option...
  • #12
I had forgotten that was what it was called, thanks. We use this method for propagating raspberry canes and grape vines. I figured it would work with neps since they are vines.