27 March 2007

Let's Propagate

There is a vining variegated euphorbia on one of the fences that I plan to propagate this week. Spring is the right time to take cuttings and make new plants out of them because you want to use wood from this year's growth that is firm, not soft.

Other plants that are easy to propagate include geranium, roses, blackberries, mums and pentas.

You will need a sterile potting medium such as vermiculite or sand, a clean container and clean scissors or knife.

Take the cuttings from the top 4-inches of the growing tips or cut a side shoot from a healthy plant. Just as with pruning, the cut should be at a slight angle.

A node is the place where a leaf emerges and the cut should be made below the node because you will remove the leaves and those are the places where the roots of your new plant will emerge.

Carefully remove any leaves or flower buds that will be on the planted part of the stem but leave a few leaves on the tip so the plant can gather energy.

Not everyone uses a planting hormone on cuttings, but professionals do. The products most commonly available are Roottone® and Hormonex®. After the end of the stem is dipped into the hormone, gently knock off any excess because too much will prevent roots from forming.

Use a pencil or other similar object to make a hole in the moistened vermiculite or sand that you put into the sterile container. Put the hormone dusted stem into the hole and continue until all the holes are filled. Then gently water.

Make a greenhouse for the starts. For example, put a 2-litre plastic bottle with the bottom cut out over a round pot or put the entire, planted pot into a clear plastic bag. A little support can be constructed with wire or bamboo and then plastic wrap can be draped over the support. If you have any clear plastic berry boxes, they are just about perfect.

Keep the mini greenhouse where it is 70 to 75-degrees and light but not sunny.

One successful gardener said that if the plastic drips water, the greenhouse is too wet. If there is never any steam in there, it is too dry. In a few weeks your cuttings will have made roots and they will be ready to plant in small pots or into a prepared bed.

In my experience, you should root twice the number of plants you want because not every one will root successfully.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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