Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Propagation by Cutting

Saturday afternoon I snipped a few cuttings from a friend's weigela and brought them home to see if I could root them. I've had varying success in propagating different kinds of plants, but I don't think I've ever tried weigela, so we'll see what happens.

First, I take a small cutting from the plant and remove all but one or two leaves.

Then, I wet the stem and dip it in some powdered rooting hormone.

I plant it in a mixture of sand and peat moss, water it, and cover it with plastic to keep the moisture in.
Then I wait. Sometimes it thrives, sometimes it dies. I always try to take several cuttings, knowing that all of them aren't going to root successfully.

I don't really know why this appeals to me; other than the obvious fact that I can get free plants. That in itself, though, is hardly worth the trouble because the new plants are so small--you could buy larger plants for just a few dollars. There is a bit of mystery, I suppose, in taking a little cutting and growing an entirely new plant from it. It doesn't seem like it should work, but often enough, it does.


Carol said...

What other hobbies allow people to "make" free stuff? I love to try propagating plants, but often lose track of them and forget to water them regularly. But it is thrilling when a cutting roots, and then viola, New Plant!

David in Greensboro NC said...

I wasn't going to bring it up, Carol, but I too frequently forget about watering my cuttings. Sometimes they live in spite of me!

Marion in Savannah said...

Cuttings and seeds -- the closest we come to real magic here on Earth, I guess! Every time I've had a cutting root and thrive for me it feels almost like a miracle has happened. I've had luck with making a "greenhouse" out of a 1 or 2 gallon Ziploc bag. If there's absolutely no condensation on the bag, you need to add a bit of water. If water is dripping down the sides of the bag it's time to open the top and let some evaporate. I've done this with African violet leaves and several easier plants (coleus, for example) with success. You need light, but direct sun will turn that bag into an oven. My best results were in a north window, but bear in mind that I live fairly deep in the South. I hope your babies live and thrive!

David in Greensboro NC said...

Thanks, Marion. I keep mine on the north side of the house for the same reason. They'll cook anywhere else. By the way, I was in Savannah a couple of years ago and loved it!

terra incognita said...

I love to try propagating plants by cuttings--- flowers, shrubs, even trees. I have a special large tub permanently placed in a shady corner of the woods, filled with a mixture of garden soil, peat moss, and sand. I've had great luck over the years and have gotten tons of "free plants" this way. Right now my tub is filled with plants that have already rooted and I just haven't transplanted them yet.

This method of propagation really appeals to me too David, and you're right, there is a bit of a mystery in taking a little stem cutting and getting a new plant from it.

I really enjoy reading your blog, and seeing your photographs.

David in Greensboro NC said...

Thanks Terra--That's a good idea, keeping a tub of potting mix on hand permanently. I haven't thought of that. I'm glad you like my blog--I'm always honored that people stop by to read it.

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