Rooting the cuttings
Getting started -- Rinse the cuttings in water after receiving them. If the cut end of the cuttings appear moist, let them sit a day at room temperature so that the ends dry out. This will help prevent them from rotting. If there are leaves at the top of the cutting, leave them on and cover them with a baggie or plastic wrap secured with a twist-tie.
Soil -- Root them in a fast-draining mix. I use 1 part perlite to 1 part coir fiber. An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite. If your mix lacks fertilizer (like coir fiber does), mix in some granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients (I use this).
Pot size - Use a pot about 1-3 gallons (4-12 liters) in size, with drainage holes.
Planting - Bury about 1/2 of the cutting in the soil. The cuttings will be marked as to which end goes down. They seem to root a little better when placed diagonally. If you have rooting hormone or anti-fungal powder, you may put it on the cuttings, but this is not necessary.
Water the soil just enough so it is lightly moist throughout. Don't saturate the soil or the cutting may rot. I recommend using moisture meter, so you can ensure that the soil doesn't get too wet.
Until they root, keep the pots between about 65° to 77° F (18-25°C). Avoid letting them get warmer than 80°F (27°C). A little cooler at night is ok. I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the cuttings, since the temperature can vary in different parts of a room.
Cover the cuttings with a plastic bag, and punch a hole in it with a pen. Keep the cuttings in a bright spot out of direct sun. A bright LED or fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights").
Add water whenever necessary to keep the soil slightly moist.
After 4-6 weeks, gently tug on the cutting to see if it has rooted. Once it has rooted, punch a hole in the bag with a pen every day, and remove the bag after 10 days. Once new foliage appears, you may increase the soil moisture.
Once they have been growing for a month, you may give them some sun - but shade them from strong afternoon sun for another 2-3 months.
After 3 months of growth, you can expose them to a wider temperature range, but protect from frost.
When the plants have rooted through their container, repot to a 3-5 gallon (12-20 liter) container. In warmer climates, keep the pot shaded, perhaps by placing it inside a larger clay pot.
If the plant grows too tall, you may prune the tip. Side shoots will then form along the stem.
Tips on growing older Babaco plants are here.
If you have any questions or problems, please contact me.
Have fun growing them!
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