Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Forgotten Cuttings (Echinacea purpurea)

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!

6 comments :

  1. I have a terrible success rate in growing these from seed. They sort of germinate OK but then they just collapse. I'm not too bad on other perennials but these illude me

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  2. I take cutting of roses all the time, but I never tried a coneflower. I have two I love and will give this a try.

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  3. I've tried to take cuttings from my tomato plants, but as of now, it's failed miserably. lol. Your plants look healthy though, so I hope they do well.

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  4. Hi Dave, I never thought of taking cuttings from coneflowers - duh! Great idea!

    I have very good success with cuttings, and I agree a big component of success is reducing the number and/or size of leaves. Rooting hormone helps tremendously too, as does a plastic bag for a week or so to help keep the foliage that's left on from wilting.

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  5. I do love your posts on cuttings. You have inspired me to try different plants of my own. Right now I have had success with some lavender. Of course I hear lavender is pretty easy, LOL

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  6. Craig Rees CowdenJune 1, 2008 at 6:21 AM

    You might already know this but you can also divide cornflower plant. Spring or fall is the suggested time. My guess is that you could also use root cuttings if you do it in the fall.
    Rees Cowden

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