Blackberry cuttings - indoor rooting attempt


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Hello. I'm a complete newbie trying to "garden" for my first time.

I have a giant blackberry bush In my neighborhood which is on public property so it's a free for all situation. It's a thorny variety with very tasty berries.

I read up on propagating and taking cuttings, and so I've done. The ones I still have left were taken about october/mid-october. Because of winter time and freezing temperatures I decided to propagate them indoors. My plan was to grow them ready for transplanting outdoors in the spring or summer.

The cuttings were distributed between three pots with organic "planting soil". They've been dying off somewhat regularly. They start turning dark brown in one spot and then the whole cutting will turn dark brown in a matter of days. When I pull them up after dying, some of them have a small rooting system which actually looks healthy (white roots). I pulled one up yesterday which had started turning black on the top (I cut off the top). The exposed inner part of the stem was covered by white spots of "something". I assume it's some kind of fungus.

I've watered sparingly but the soil is certainly "damp". Plants have been placed by the window and they get indirect natural light every day. In fear of drying out the cuttings I've kept the radiator off in this particular room.

Why do they keep dying, and how can I prevent it from happening?

If the cutting dies but the root system looks healthy, is there a possibility that the roots may produce a new plant?
 
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The cuttings require a cold period before taking the cutting. Don't use organic soil because the nutrients are so dense that it will burn the root tips. Blackberry seeds will grow in organic soil but stem-cuttings won't root well. You should use a peat and sand mix or a perlite and vermiculite mix for rooting indoors. I use rooting hormone when using peat. Also the most important reminder is to always mark the top of the stem cutting as so it will point upwards and not down. If you put a stem upside down in the rooting mix it won't root at all. Blackberries are easy to root if you follow the guidelines above.
 
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You can get it to root, but it can be hard. A much easier process is to take a shovel and find a new strong vigorous cane coming up and dig out a foot around it, and a foot or so down. You will usually find the root growing like a line through the root ball. Plant this new cane and water good for the first couple of weeks especially. Best to find canes before they get to tall.

A foot or so. Anything taller is honestly to big, and liable to face some serious transplant shock. If you can find a strong 6 to 8" maybe 10" cane that'll be perfect.

Professor Clark at the University of Arkansas has done a lot of research on blackberries. He has papers, or youtube videos incase your interested. Thornless varieties and ones that fruit their first year. (Ex. Prime Ark Freedom; Has HUGE Berries)

Another trick is to bend a branch over that is close to the ground, pick a few leaves but leave the small ones at the tip, and bury it. It will root itself in no time without needing a rooting hormone. You can create cuttings to double your plants, or give some away easy this way. Goodluck
 

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