I couldn’t bear waiting until summer to start Pale Wolfberry cuttings, so I grabbed 5 cuttings from 3 shrubs. Besides, I can see the wolfberries right now, but in late summer I would have trouble distinguishing them with all the plants surrounding them. Not to mention snakes.
So to make this really difficult, I marched straight over to the shrubs and broke off 5 twigs.
That handled, I brought them home and filled 5 one gallon plastic pots with native soil.
I pulled the leaves from the bottom 2/3 of the twigs and every little bunch of leaves hides a sharp nasty thorn! At this point, I shoved the twigs into the sandy dry soil and brought the pots inside. I watered them carefully and will keep them damp until the roots are well established.
Pale Wolfberry is a cold hardy member of the Solanaceae family, cousin to tomatoes and such.
One nice thing about sandy soil for starting cuttings is that it is easy to keep moist without being too wet and causing rotting. I did not use rooting compound, although I am sure it wouldn’t hurt. In Texas I bought a bag of sand to start cuttings since my soil was clay gumbo. In Seattle I also bought sand because my soil was a wet spongy mass that grew moss and fungus overnight. New Mexico sand is perfect for this.
Later I will start cuttings from elderberry, grapes, Oregon grape, Golden Currants, more Pale Wolfberries, and anything else I make up. Once my warm season seedlings are out of my greenroom, it will be perfect for cuttings. Come winter, I will have microgreens in there. Of course I want a real greenhouse… I hear you thinking… and I already found a funky wood stove to heat it.
The downside of cuttings is that they don’t have as good a root system as seed grown plants, and that does matter here in New Mexico during extended droughts. But to get Pale Wolfberries on my property and be able to conveniently collect seeds for future increase, I am good. The upside of cuttings is that they bloom and set fruit and seed very quickly. I use both cuttings and seeds for both their characteristics, but have more confidence in seedlings.
If I am diligent and keep my five Pale Wolfberry cuttings watered, I will have 5 additions to my food forest and prickly perimeter planting.