Tons of Free Plants from Cuttings
It is that time of year!
Time to plan for a glorious garden filled with color.
A fast, easy and budget friendly way to get loads of plants is to take cuttings and root them.
You get larger plants faster than you would from seed plus you get a true clone of the parent plant whereas with seeds you never know what you will get.
A few good choices for fast and easy propagation are: Zonal Geraniums
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First you start with a nice healthy plant. I overwintered some of mine in my studio and upper bedroom window.
Take a cutting from a fresh green branch just below a leaf node. Cut with something clean and very sharp, like a razor or xacto knife.
See…..fresh green branch.
Old crusty branch…this is not what you want..
Make sure you have some potting mix ready to load up your freshly washed and sterilized little pots with.
My mix is half potting soil (Ace brand) and perlite.
These are 3 inch pots, you can use smaller or even the Jiffy pellets work well.
These pots have all been washed in hot soapy water with a touch of bleach, then rinsed well and air dried.
The cutting should be about 4 or 5 inches long and leave two healthy leaves on them.
When you put the stem into the dirt make sure two leaf nodes are covered by the soil mix.
With geraniums I do not use a cloning or rooting medium but other plants do root better for me when I do, here is the rooting medium.
Water well and press the soil firmly around the cutting.
I love my propagation trays with lids. They work wonderfully for me and are less of a pain that the plastic bag method.
Find some here on Amazon or Park Seed has a lovely one that is very durable and worth the cost if you are going to propagate often.
Put a clear lid on your tray to maintain moisture and keep at a moderate temperature and in bright light.
I have mine in the greenhouse but you can put them under lights in the house as well.
You can use clear plastic sheeting you get in a roll at the home store, just tent it up so it up with something so the plastic does not touch the cuttings directly. It does not need to fit snug, you do want some air circulation.
Here is my petunia cuttings done the same way under their clear dome roof under grow lights in my dining room.
I love when that happens. Sweet success. You can now pot them up into a larger pot to fill out more or put them in whatever container you want to see bright happy flowers. I would wait to plant them in the garden until they were a bit larger but if you wish you can put them right in your borders and beds now. Just protect from slugs and snails, I use a bait.
Never be afraid to try rooting things out of season. Like this clematis…see the green sprout in the corner?
That is a cutting that is starting to grow. I did a post on pruning a clematis last Fall…Prune Clematis for Top to Bottom Bloom, and even though it was the wrong time of year to root cuttings I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try since I had a ton on hand from the pruning.
I cut the clematis trimmings into small lengths, dipped them in rooting hormone, poked them in compost in a small pot, and let them just sit in the greenhouse over winter. Though I only show one in the photo, nearly all of the cuttings I planted are showing growth. I didn’t even have a cover on them to retain moisture.
The moral of the story, even though it may not be the “best” time of year to do something for the garden it won’t hurt to give it a try, you may be surprise.