Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Propagation Station

One thing I like to do is play around with different plants to see if I can get new plants to grow from cuttings.  I just haven't had time to set up an "official" propagation station here, or even buy rooting hormone.  I just work with easy plants, and experiment.

Succulents can be rooted easily without using hormones.  I just pinch off a stem, clear off the leaves, and slide it into moist dirt.

I make sure the dirt never dries out and that the sedum gets lots of sunshine.  The leaves will put down roots in no time.  Each new root, of course, makes a new plant. 

I've been doing it for a while.  These sedum stems rooted and can be separated out into little pots.  They'll spread nicely.

Spider plants can be propagated this way, and any succulents, like the string of pearls cutting I took from my mother's huge plant last year.  My little plant has grown, and now I'm starting new ones. 

I've started dividing larger plants, too, to get smaller ones.  I'm experimenting on easy ones, like catnip.

Lay plant out...

Shake off dirt, and slice in half through root...

Plant each half and see what happens.  If you fail, well, catnip is cheap.  If you succeed, you've found another way to successfully increase your home garden at no cost.  In my little catnip experiment, one side is thriving, while the other side still looks a little limp.  We'll see what happens!

I'm getting a lot of free propagation outside.  The Helleborus are going to seed.

Many went to seed earlier in the spring, so I have thousands of tiny new Helleborus plants coming up!  Am I going to thin and spread them like a madwoman?  You bet!

By the way, Helleborus plants themselves can be divided in the spring after blooming! 

Iris plants are coming up along the side driveway.  I believe that irises can be divided every other year, so I'm going to take a gamble and divide them this year, after they bloom!

Flowering bushes with long "arms" like spirea and forsythia are really easy to propagate.  I was really pleased to see 3 forsythia bushes in the back yard, and I'll be increasing them by the layering method.

Just slice off a bit of the outer bark on the "arm" you want to root.  Pin it to the soil with a rock and make sure it gets water.  Do this in the spring and it will probably have roots by fall.  You can cut it from the parent plant and pot it, or just leave it there all winter and cut/replant in the spring. 

I haven't yet moved to trying to propagate small trees, like dogwoods.  We have five or six dogwood trees here, in various stages of growth.  The one by the side driveway is the furthest along...just about ready to open up.

Many of the azaleas have opened up, but there are huge groups of them that are still just starting to bud out.

We have pure white...

Light pink...

Hot pink...

And a pink and white marbled azalea.

Two interesting things I've noticed.  One:  azaleas last WEEKS in bouquets - weeks!  Just remember to change the water regularly.  Two:  One of our big groups of azalea bushes is out front, and it has both pink and white azaleas growing from the same bush.

I learned that this can be done with roses, camillias, and many other flowering bushes through a process called grafting.  Grafting is adding a bit of root or stem from one variety onto another variety.  Some people do this to get continual blooms:  the original variety stops blooming, but the newly grafted variety can bloom for another month.  Others do this for just an extra bit of color.

My white camillia bush...

...also produces beautifully pink marbled flowers, too, because that variety was grafted on at some point.

These have been blooming steadily, but I'm impatiently waiting for other things to bloom.

This might be butterfly bushes, per the landscaping plans, and should produce masses of flowers.

We have Liriope edgings all around.  They're supposed to send up purple flower spikes in the spring.  I see the remnants of last year's spikes...nothing yet for this year.

We have five gardenia bushes, too.  One year I planted gardenias in Indianapolis.  I loved the dark, waxy leaves and the fragrant white flowers.  Despite (or because of) my tender care, it didn't survive long.  These don't appear to be budding out...but I hope they will.

I realize that I've been doing a lot of "clicking" and not a lot of "knitting" and "stirring", but I'm so inspired by new growth in the spring that it's hard to focus on other things.  However, I promise to have both a knitting project and some sort of recipe next week.

Until then!

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