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I have hardwood cutting from a couple of black currant bushes collected this winter. Many have been planted in small pots as I'm getting them started indoors on a warming mat. The warming mat is hooked up to a thermostat so I can control how warm the mat gets based on a soil thermometer inserted 1" into one of the seedling pot's soil.

I wonder, what temperature is optimal for these cuttings? As a general rule of thumb I'm thinking 70 degrees F? What I've read on blank currant propagation so far has not mentioned temperature for starting them.

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Probably the main reason you found no temperature recommendation is because currant cuttings are often propagated outdoors:
In late fall, cuttings (from the current year) are placed deep into garden soil. They stay outside all winter, protected by a layer of leaf mulch or similar.

Propagating in pots is of course possible, but I would not put them in a warm environement and certainly not on a warming mat. Hardwood cuttings need time to develop roots and you should expect a few weeks until the cutting has formed enough roots. I’m not sure is you can really speed up the process. Successful cuttings will show new growth in spring. This is another reason I wouldn’t “rush” the development: If the cuttings start pushing out the new growth too early indoors, you risk etiolation and hardening off becomes more complicated.

In my opinion, a cool spot would be the better choice, just don’t forget to check the pots regularly and water as needed.

  • Good to know! I plan to propagate some outdoors but also want to get indoor pots started that could be moved to different outdoor sites in the spring, or temporarily planted in an outdoor nursery to be moved in the fall after a season or two. – cr0 Feb 15 '18 at 15:40
  • Your advice makes sense. In terms of avoiding etiolation, you recommended the cuttings go in a cool spot but continue getting a reasonable amount of water. What would you recommend for lighting while trying to get the cuttings to emerge out of dormancy (at a hardy pace) indoors? – cr0 Feb 15 '18 at 15:41
  • Nothing, as long as they are dormant. Once they show new growth, they need light, if necessary supplement with a grow lamp. I meant etiolation can become an issue if you coax the cuttings into thinking it’s spring already - a timing question, primarily. – Stephie Feb 15 '18 at 15:46
  • Gotya. Timing is something I always have trouble with. If I'm starting the cuttings indoors, don't I want to simulate spring, then when they actually go outdoors in spring when threat of frost has passed, they're ready to go? – cr0 Feb 15 '18 at 16:15

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