Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time to garden again!

Next week, we celebrate the coming of a New Year. After that, what happens? It will be time to garden again! Whoopee!

Oh, calm myself!

I love to propagate plants. Whether I do it with seeds, (favorite!) or cuttings (also favorite!) there are always little tricks to learn, to improve, to pass along. I would like to pass along some of my 'tricks' for propagating new plants, and everyone can use these, no matter where you are in the world.

Let us start with propagating by cuttings.

I make a little propagation chamber that is so easy, and so reliable for me that I love to share this idea.

That said....

This is what you will need.
A plastic shoebox, with a lid. They come in various sizes, any will do. A deeper box, filled to the same depth, is great for things like angel's trumpets or roses.

Soil less potting mix, half peat/ half perlite, or whatever is your favorite medium. This needs to be damp when you put it in the box.

A little clay pot, with the drain hole plugged with caulking or silicone. If this is a new pot, scrub it with some steel wool to be sure it doesn't have a sealer on it. You want the water to seep through it.
Rooting hormone powder or liquid, or salix solution from the willow tree.

Plant material, snippers. This plant is Plectranthus (a tall swedish ivy) and a Joseph's Coat, 'Red Thread'. This box has been used before, many times. The little succulents in it are rooted, they just need moving to a pot.

You can see here, I hope, that I fill the clay pot to the top with rain water, well water, or distilled water. I just don't use our tap water, too much chlorine and a ph that is out of sight.

I pour a little of the hormone powder out on a paper plate or a piece of paper, so that I don't contaminate the whole package of powder. And these little 'snippers' are the best for taking this kind of cuttings.

This is about right on the amount of hormone to use. I try to get 2 nodes per cutting, if I can. Knock off the excess. It is better to have a little too little than to have too much.
Then, with your finger, or a pencil, or stick, SOMETHING, poke a hole in the potting mix and insert your cutting. Pull the potting mix up around the cutting good and snug.

When your box is full, and I always like to pretty much fill the box, just put the lid on it, and set it in the shade. You don't ever put this box in the sun. You wind up with boiled cuttings.

Check the cuttings every few days, and refill the reservoire as needed. Don't let it dry out.

If you happen to get the medium too wet, just prop the lid open with a pencil for a little while.

This is a very good method of propagation, lots of fun, and it doesn't take a lot of room. You can leave the box sitting in the laundry room, or under the bed. Cuttings don't need light to root.

I posted this on the Plant Propagation forum at Garden Web 4 years ago, and it is still running. It just kept on keeping on.

Tom, at Seventh Street Cottage makes a fantastic cloning machine, and he has excellent results with it. Look there for his directions, or ask him about it.

Have fun with this. If at first you don't succeed, try it again. Try it with dozens of cuttings, or several cuttings of several types of plants. It won't take you long to get the hang of it, and learn what the different plants need to root.

By the time Spring is here, and you can get in the garden, you can have dozens of new plants to put out, with very little effort or expense. And if there isn't much in your garden to cut right now, take a walk through Lowes or Home Depot garden department. I pick up a lot of plants this time of year for a dollar or two, that will provide several nice cuttings.

Next time, let's make a cute little rose rooter...... Or, maybe I could explain how I make sure every seed I plant germinates.....or, we could root violets, or graft tomatoes. Oh, Wait! We can do bulbs! Did you ever cut up a bulb and wind up with a cazillion baby bulbs? Fun!


Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Yep. Janie's little propagation chamber was the second propagation box I built. The cloner was the third. It works great for me here in the summer where I can put the box under the side porch, in the shade. It's so simple, and so fantastic. Thanks for sharing this again.

Thomas said...

How jealous am I! I guess that's one of the advantages of living in Texas. I'd love to be starting seeds right now. I can't wait to read about your seed starting adventures!

NellJean said...

"Here, take this and stick it in the ground, it will root." -- Miss Billie

You gotta believe.

janie said...

Yes, Nell, we have Miss Billie here too. Her name is Miss Frances, and she raised 14 kids, every one of them college educated. She runs around barefooted in her garden, while I am so afraid for her, because I am worried she will step on a rattlesnake. She ripped off a great limb of a vitek tree the first time I met her, and that is exactly what she said. "Here, stick this, it will grow!" I did, and IT DID! I love Miss Frances and Miss Billie, for didn't they foster the desire to garden in us, when we had little confidence that we could do that?

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

What a fantastic mini greenhouse! You're so lucky to be able to garden already, I still have a few more months to wait. :) Rebecca

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful idea! I would never thought of this by myself. Thanks Janie.
I would be probably worried to get mold if I keep it closed all the time?

Sylvana said...

Very instructive post. I haven't done many cuttings before, but it is a great way to get more of the plants you like - and more importantly FREE plants :)

sanddune said...

What a great idea. I'm going to try it out here at the sandpit.

Anonymous said...

Janie, Thanks for the clear and detailed instructions (including pictures, always so helpful). I'll look forward to trying this. -Jean

Amy said...

Thanks Janie! That is a good idea to use the plastic container with a lid. I didn't have much success with my propagator because it dried out without a lid. I will have to give it a try. I'm glad that you are sharing your great ideas and knowledge. Hope you had a great holiday!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous idea! I will definitely be trying this. It will help keep my plants from drying out while not squishing them. :)

Christine B. said...

I didn't think I had the space to do cuttings until I read your post. Fantastic! Plus a reason to go shoe box shopping as I had no idea there were plastic shoe boxes out there. I feel like a bit of an ignoramus....

Christine in Alaska

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