In my last post I forgot to show you the Coneflower cuttings. They are easy enough to grow from seed but I wanted to see how challenging the cuttings would be to root. I took six cuttings from our coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) but only two rooted. My success rate will be greater next time since I figured out what the problem was: water loss. With no roots started a cutting needs to keep a balance between sustaining itself and growing roots. It needs some greenery but not too much since the extra leaves require water. The cuttings that survived had small leaves. You can see in the picture where I trimmed off some of the larger leaves so that the stem would root. If all you have on a cutting is large leaves then it may become necessary to trim the foliage. You can tell very easily by watching the leaves for any browning. If the leaves turn brown or black then they aren't getting enough water. All you need to do is cut the leaves down to (probably) no more than in inch in length. The next cutting I take from the echinaceas will have one small leaf or one leaf that has been trimmed.
Why take cuttings from a plant when it seeds easily? It takes less time to grow into a mature plant and you get a plant that is genetically identical to the mother plant. This way you can be assured of the same flower color, the same growth habit, and the same foliage. I like growing from seeds also so I have started 9 purple coneflower and 9 'White Swan' coneflower plants from seed. They haven't sprouted yet but I'll let you know when they do!
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Forgotten Cuttings (Echinacea purpurea)
Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.