To Root or Not to Root
To buy rooted, or not rooted, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The long days and nights of absent roots,
Or to buy them rooted against the sea of troubles...
First of all, let me just clarify by saying that there's no right or wrong answer, and there is no judgement regarding which you have bought in the past. I've bought both rooted and unrooted in the past!
Cuttings already developed roots - your seller has either stuck the cuttings in water, moss, or some other propagating medium for weeks prior. They're most likely shipped bare root wrapped carefully and tightly so that your roots don't get damaged while in transit. Upon receiving, you will want to pot it up in a potting mix as soon as you can. If you don't feel confident about the roots that your cutting has put out so far, stick it in water (or whatever propagating medium you prefer) to allow your cutting to continue rooting, and don't forget to place indoors near a window/well lit area.
Your seller has (hopefully) snipped off leaf+node right before shipping out. Cuttings are wrapped typically with a moist paper towel, moss, or both to keep the cuttings hydrated. Upon receiving, you will want to place them in water (or whatever propagating medium) as soon as possible. Don't open up your wrappings and let your cuttings dry out (unless they are succulents that would need to callous over before propagation)! If placing them in water is not possible at the moment, keep them unopened in their original wrapping until it is possible. If the spot where the cuttings were made looks absolutely dried out, please make another cut closer to the node so it may root out successfully.
1. No need to wait as long or at all before potting
2. New growth may be put out sooner
1. roots are delicate and can be frail; may be damaged during shipping
2. roots may dry out during shipping; roots may need to be cut back and rerooted
Easier to ship
Less risk for root damage (because there are none)
You get the whole experience of patiently waiting for roots to form!
Shipping risks - cutting may be completely dried out, unable to save and root (typically your cutting should be fine for a few days if kept moist in wrapping)
The wait! Could take somewhere between 1-4 weeks for typical cuttings to root.
If you've reached this far - thank you. I believe that whichever option you decide, you will treat your cutting with great care. Leave a comment to share your experiences with rooted/unrooted cuttings with me!