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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mulching The Vegetable Garden

The vegetable garden is growing "like a weed", in fact its growing a few of them too! I'm really pleased with the progress of most of the garden so far. There are a couple beds that need some attention but I have almost all the beds mulched with a hardwood mulch to keep most of the weeds at bay and moisture in the soil. Mulching your garden will save you all kinds of time and aggravation over the course of the summer. If you don't do it now, you will wish you did! I was tempted to go with pine needles this year but never got around to gathering some. Any organic mulch will work. Organic mulches break down over time and gradually improve the soil which for me makes them vastly superior to plastic mulches and gravel mulches. The only downside is you have to replace them when they breakdown, but then they are feeding the soil, so it's worth it in the end!

Here are a few things to think about when mulching your raised beds:
  • Use an organic mulch like pine straw, straw, leaves, grass clippings, or a hardwood mulch. 
  • Avoid the colored mulches. I did that last year and didn't see any benefit. I don't know if they have harmful chemicals in them or not but they are a little more expensive.
  • Put your irrigation system (soaker hoses and drip lines) under the mulch. Keeping the hoses under the mulch keeps the water under the mulch which reduces evaporation. More water to the plants root systems means more vegetables for you. That's always a good thing!
  • If you choose to use a plastic mulch (I prefer organic) put your irrigation system in first so it can go underneath the mulch. 
  • If you use grass clippings make sure you are using them from non-chemically treated lawns and from grass that hasn't gone to seed. Unless you like fescue in with your tomatoes, I don't!

If you haven't gotten your mulch down yet it's time to start, things are only going to get warmer here in Tennessee!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What Would A Tennessee Garden Be Without...

Orange!


The orange standouts are new to flowering this year although some were planted last year in anticipation of a showy display. Daylilies of course come in all kinds of colors. This one has a little orange in the center while remaining mostly yellow and was picked up at the plant swap last year. The Asiatic lily was a recent purchase, my wife loved the color, and because it's a plant I liked it too! (I should be more discerning shouldn't I?) The butterfly weed is a joint favorite of ours around our joint since it looks great and attracts butterflies, hence the name. Monarchs are especially fond of milkweed and butterfly weed is a esteemed member of that lucky family. It does seem a shame to call it a weed though! The last two shots are of the same poppy. This was another pick made by my wife. She may only be able to pick out orange flowers, we'll have to discuss this issue! I put it in the Japanese maple garden just off our patio. It's orange color looks pretty neat next to the burgundy foliage of the maple and the 'Husker's Red' Penstemon.

You just can't have a Tennessee garden without a little orange can you?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Squash : Pick Early Pick Often

In a couple days I hope to be picking some of our first squash from the garden. Squash is one of those prolific plants that will produce for long periods of time as long as you do the right thing to it help it along. It likes to be picked on repeatedly. In fact squash peters out when the fruits are allowed to grow on the plant without picking. It's best picked when it is 4-6 inches long - definitely don't let it grow to monstrous proportions! Even if you can't use the squash right away it's best to picked anyway just to keep your plant producing. Throwing a squash away (I would hate to do this!) is better than letting the plant go since it will completely shut down production.

Other things to worry about are squash bugs and squash vine borers. The squash bugs can be prevented by watching for tiny little clusters of eggs on the leaves then smushing them with your thumb. (There we go again committing thumbicide! Gardening sure does evoke the violent tendencies within us all.) The borers are a bit more difficult to contend with as they drill into the plants and cut off the vascular system between the roots and the rest of the plant. If you see a sawdust like substance by the stalk of your plant you probably have borers. You can avoid their damage some by doing sequential plantings or using row covers. After they have infested the squash you can try to cut them out or possibly bury other parts of the stem to propagate new roots but this just suspends the ineveitable.

Squash flowers are male and female and are pollinated by the bees. The female flowers are easy to see because what looks like small squashes are just below the flowers.  This is why bees are so important. Without them we would have to buzz around our own squash plants pollinating as we go just to get squash for our dinner tables. Sounds like a lot of unnessary work to me, I'd rather keep the bees!

Squash flowers are edible and are frequently eaten in a fried form. You can fry just about anything can't you?

These blossoms look good to me just as they are, on the plant waiting for their visit from the bees.  That way they can make me something for dinner! 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Corner Shade Garden Through Time

The evolution of a garden is an interesting thing to look back at from time to time. For this month's Gardening Gone Wild Garden Design Workshop: Made in the Shade I thought I would take a look back at where my corner shade garden was and where it is now.

Here it is last year before most of the work was done to it.

 
I removed the large ugly frost damaged bush from the back corner which left the corner bare.
  
Then I spent some time weeding the strawberry plants throughout the year. Those things are still coming back. In the garden went heucheras and hostas.  Eventually I added an oak leaf hydrangea.


The plants gradually grew, as plants are known to do, and I added a natural stone pathway through the garden for the gas meter reader person. I thought that for the meter reader's convenience and the safety of my plants this was necessary! Coleus that was rescued from the discount racks was planted and new plants like Soloman's Seal were added from a plant swap.
This year I've added a few things to the area like the dry creek bed I put together to guide rainwater away from the house. Just to the right of the dry creek bed is a Japanese maple that was another rescued discount plant I bought at the end of last season.  The stone border was a new addition I added around the garden this year. It's made from gathered limestone which is common in every area in Middle Tennessee except for my yard. I'm not sure I have a single rock here that I haven't imported!
Here's a look at the foliage in the shade garden all filled out. The edges of each plant touch and slightly overlap which helps to reduce moisture loss from underneath.  Not that that has been a problem this spring! We've had an over abundance of downpours this year. In fact we've probably forgotten what the word "drought" means but we should always keep it in mind as it could strike at any time. 


Here is the shade garden from the other side of the Arbor. I'm pleased with its progress but it will gradually change over time as the oak leaf hydrangea gets larger. I'll probably end up having to move heucheras further out but that's not a problem since that will give me an opportunity to divide them and you probably know that I like more plants, especially when free!

An Inexpensive Homemade Tomato Cage

Here is an inexpensive little project I'm working on that hopefully will work to hold a tomato plant. This homemade tomato cage is made from the pliable branches of a sycamore tree my neighbor limbed up. I offered to take the branches to dump in a pit in the backyard and mentioned I might use a few of the branches for cages. The cage itself isn't complete since I still have two more branches to add that will cross from corner to corner.  Once I put those on I'll tie them at the center point and at each corner. I may add one more branch vertically along the stem of the tomato plant as a stake then attach it to the others. Afterward I'll just add a few more branches along the outsides as needed to hold in that feisty tomato plant!

Total cost of this project was $0 and it only took a few minutes to put it together.  If it works it's well worth the effort!


As you can see the tomato plant is growing strong and healthy among the garlic. Garlic is a good companion crop for tomatoes. It seems that when choosing companion planting combinations what you can eat together on a plate (basil, garlic and tomatoes) usually does well together in the garden!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stopping to Smell the Daylilies

Stopping to smell the daylilies may get you a mild to severe case of nasal pollenitis. Symptoms include a dusty yellow-orange substance that can be found on the surfaces of the nose, possible sneezing and runny eyes, as well as a possible case of severe giggles.

Cabbage Loopers on Hollyhocks

Well it had to happen. More insects have attacked the plants in my garden. My second year hollyhocks are the lastest victims of an insect known as the cabbage looper. Eventhough their name is cabbage looper that doesn't mean they will stop there. They like all sorts plants in the crucifer group like broccoli, collards, kale, and cauliflower as well as other vegetables in the cucurbit family. (For a more complete list visit the Univeristy of Florida's Entomology page on Cabbage Loopers) Now this little green worm may not seem like much when you look at him but when you consider that he can eat up to three times his weight each day and that he usually tags along with 300-600 newly hatched larvae of his closest friends the damage can be decimating.

This is how they start, munching on the juicy green foliage of the host plant. In this case they are on my second year hollyhocks.  On any one leaf I counted 10-15 larvae at any time.

They work their way through the plants leaves to get enough energy to sustain their transformation into cabbage moths.


Leaving behind leaves on your favorite ornamentals and vegetables that look like this:

 
Not a pretty sight is it? This hollyhock wasn't intended to be a lace leaf variety. When I finally caught the cabbage worms I applied an insecticidal soap that contains neem oil which works as a feeding deterrent and as a growth regulator. Quite frankly I just want them dead and gone. (These worms also targeted a rose bush we have in the front garden. They have not made me very happy.) I did use a very effective if somewhat time consuming method when I first saw them, I call it thumbicide. Just take the little worms between your thumb and forefinger (I used gloves) and squeeze tightly. (If you're angry enough this may help you channel that anger!) If that is a little too icky for you consider using Bacillus thuringiensis or BT for short. It's a bacteria that is harmless to people but not to insect larvae. Another option is simple prevention. If you have a large crop of cabbage invest in row covers to prevent the moths from laying their eggs in the first place! I checked my one cabbage plant that came up from seed and found a small infestation there as well, you can bet I'll be definding my cabbage. I've got a batch of coleslaw that is depending on my fortitude!

Insects are just one of the many challenges in gardening, frustrating yes, but figuring out how to deal with them will make you a better gardener!

For more information on their control and lifecycle go to the University of Florida's Cabbage Looper Information Page.

To help fend off cabbage loopers from vegetable crops try this from Gardener's Supply:

Pop-Up Pest Control Nets

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Framed

Through the diamond shaped hanging frames of the Arbor I spied a daylily and a salvia in the front garden. The blooming of the daylilies has begun!

 

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Garden Remodel: The Fence Garden

Several years ago we began to create a garden along the fence at my parents home.  As you can see in the first two pictures there was very little there. A birch tree was planted along the fence to eventually create some shade. On the right are two apple trees that died and were removed since this picture was taken.

 

Here is the view looking toward the house. These pictures were taken in 2006. Annie and Sophie are making their first appearance on the blog! Annie is the chocolate lab and Sophie is the standard poodle.

 

This is how the garden looked before my recent remodel. Over the last couple years several trees and shrubs were added like a Yoshino cherry, Kwanzan cherry, Japanese dappled willow, red twig dogwood, and a couple bird's nest spruces. The concrete blocks in the picture were moved from another location in the yard to mark off the new border for the garden remodel.

 

Here you can see the area close to the deck with the Japanese dappled willow just right of center.


Here is that same birch from the first picture after nearly four years of growth. It's foliage is thick and creates a nice dappled shade area below its canopy.



Further down along the fence are the cherry trees that are consealing an area for a bamboo bench. The idea was to create a shady spot to sit and relax.


Now before you look at the newly remodeled garden pictures please note that there is still some work to be done. The mulch needs finished and the edging stones will completely border the garden area when it is all finished. We only used what blocks we had on hand and need to gather some more to complete the garden.

Here's the result!  Most of the plants were moved form other locations around the yard to complete this area. As part of her Mother's Day present my mom received plants from our family to supplement and fill up the garden. It was kind of a starter selection of plants for the new garden. There are two zones along this fence now: a shady zone and a sunny zone. The new sunny zone plants were a monarda and echinacea but many other plants are now included in the sunny area that were moved into the area from other spots like Russian sage, salvia, lamb's ear, irises, 'Silver mound' artemisia, ponytail grass, and rudbeckia.

  

Here's a slightly different angle that shows the length of the fence and the entire garden as it is now.

  
Further down the fence garden is a spot where I planted variegated liriope. I moved two large plants and divided each one into many smaller plants to eventually fill in this spot with what will eventually become a thick grass-like area.


Here's another angle on the liriope. I place this mysterious rock in the middle of the group of liriope. I suspect it is petrified wood but I'm not entirely sure, it's black and looks neat so I stuck it in the garden!




Toward the middle of the garden I moved some azaleas that were needing a better home from the front yard. They should get the shade that they need to flourish here in the fence garden. In the back are some lamb's ear that need a new sunnier home, they sure grow fast don't they?



  
Underneath the canopy of prunus trees I planted several shade plants. All of these were a part of her Mother's Day present extept for the coleus. The coleus is very interesting and is called 'Henna' after the tattoo painting art from India. The other plants are heucheras (of course!), a blue-green hosta, several varieties of astilbe, variegated pachysandra (Japanese spurge, for a ground cover) and a Japanese painted fern. One of the heucheras is an offshoot from one of my 'Palace Purple's but the other one is much nicer.  It has a silver-gray hue mixed with the purple which I find really cool in a heuchera. The 4 inch pot of pachysandra was able to be divided into at least two other plants. Bonus plants!

  

Here's are the plants in the shade area so you can see them closer. They will grow and fill in over time  while more plants will be added as mom sees things she likes. Strangely this is her first hosta! I'll encourage her to get a few more. In my opinion, if you have the spot you have to have a hosta!

 

I'll update the garden as it grows. I always follow the strategy of buying smaller plants and letting them grow. It saves money and the plants usually adapt better. I definitely like stretching those dollars in the garden!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ponytail Grass (Nassella tenuissima, Stipa tenuissima)

Ornamental grasses are definitely something special to add to the landscape and ponytail grass (Nassella tenuissima) is definitely a neat one to add. It goes by several common names like Mexican Feather Grass, Silky Thread Grass, and the aforementioned pony tail grass. It's a beautiful grass planted next to hardscape areas especially around rocks. Recently I revamped my parents fence garden using some plants I purchased for Mother's Day as well as some that were preexisting in their landscape. The feather grass was one that they purchased last year but didn't have a location for it. They overwintered it in the garden until I moved it for them into the newly remodeled garden (I'll show you tomorrow)!  When it's backlit by the sunlight it looks fantastic. It billows in the wind adding motion to the landscape.



Ponytail grass is hardy to zone 7 but I can tell you that it will should do fine in zone 6 gardens. It overwintered fine with an extra cold winter this year and you can see how it looks now. There is one small warning to take note of; it reseeds readily! The seedlings should be easy to pick out of your garden if you don't want them, but if you do you'll have a gorgeous grass to gaze upon! I liked the look of the ponytail grass so much that I bought four of them today for my garden, now where should they go?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sand vs. Soil for Propagation

I had a question posed to me through a comment on this blog that I've not really written about dealing with plant propagation: Why do I use sand instead of soil for cuttings?

Before I answer let me say that most (maybe about 95%) of my successful cuttings were done in sand alone with the rest in either in a sand and peat mix, regular soil, or water. There is no wrong way to root a cutting as long as it produces a healthy plant. If you like rooting cuttings in a jar of water then by all means go for it! There's more than one way to skin a cat (or so I've been told, I'd never do such a thing!)

I use sand for a several reasons:
  • It holds the cuttings upright (any potting medium except water should do this).
  • It drains well and keeps the cuttings from getting too moist.
  • Low fertility (no fertility really) means the energy of the plant goes into making roots and not foliage.
  • It is sterile since there is no organic matter for diseases and microbes to lurk.
  • The roots have an easy time penetrating the sand and put on some good initial growth.
  • It's cheap! (Perhaps the best reason of all.)
  • It's easily available at pretty much any hardware store.
Once the cuttings root they need to be transplanted into soil to gain the nutritional value of the soil. Plants that are easy to root (like forsythia, caryopteris, coleus, etc.) will do fine in soil but more difficult rooting specimens may simply rot in soil as opposed to vermiculite or sand as a medium. Peat can be used mixed together with either sand, perlit, or vermiculite and it maintains sterility due to its high acid content.

Why don't I use soil? Let's assume we are talking about garden soil and not soilless potting mixes you find in stores for seed starting. Those should be fine for any propagation purpose. Not all cuttings root easily in soil, but then again not all cuttings root easily. The difference in the sand vs. soil issue is the sterility of the soil. Here is what the Master Gardener Extension at Ohio State University had to say about the medium for cuttings:
"Insert treated cutting in a moist rooting medium. A suitable rooting medium is half perlite and half sphagnum peat moss. Any disinfested container with drainage is acceptable for use."
Here's what North Carolina State University had to say on the subject:
"The rooting medium should be sterile, low in fertility, and well-drained to provide sufficient aeration. It should also retain enough moisture so that watering does not have to be done too frequently. Materials commonly used are coarse sand, a mixture of one part peat and one part perlite (by volume), or one part peat and one part sand (by volume). Vermiculite by itself is not recommended, because it compacts and tends to hold too much moisture. Media should be watered while being used."
The problem with soil is that unpasteurized soil can contain bacteria. fungi (like damping off) and microbes that may harm a plant's growth or contain viruses that may spread to other plants. If it is too fertile it may encourage leaf growth (due to nitrogen) which you don't want at the initial stages of rooting, you want roots!

So in the end it comes down to personal preference. Many gardeners have methods of making potting mixes with different combinations of materials for different purposes and rooting plants is the same way. The sand works for me, but if a different rooting medium works for you then by all means use it. As long as the plant is healthy and happy in the end that's all that matters!

What soil mediums do you use for rooting, potting or seed starting? Do you have a favorite mix you use?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Become a Master of Space and Time

A character on one of my favorite shows "Heroes" calls himself a "master of space and time." Hiro can stop time and let it resume whenever he wants. At one time he was even able to go forward and backward through time. Wouldn't that be a cool power to have? But this post is not about superpowers, it's about becoming a master of space and time in your garden. Space and time are two of the most important elements in the garden that most people don't consider.

Let's think about space for a second and why it's important. Space has all kinds of garden related meanings. It could be an outdoor living space like a patio or a garden room. It could be used to refer to the spacing of plants including vertical positioning as well as horizontal. Proper spacing of plants is very important to avoid fungal diseases or to crowd out weeds. Close spacing in dry environments might work better but if you live somewhere with a lot of natural moisture you might be inviting fungi for dinner. Close spacing may prevent light from reaching weeds and limit their growth which is always good. Space can also refer to open spaces for wildlife or any other kind of natural habitat. The word zone is used a lot in garden talk but in my garden every space seems to have its own climate zone where plants who like similar envrionmental conditions thrive together. Lots of meanings for a small but important word.

Time can be very closely related to space especially when we are talking about the size of plants. That little seedling can grow to be quite large over time and if your space isn't big enough you may have problems. You can master time simply by knowing the mature size of your plants. Don't plant something that will be too large for an area unless you don't mind moving it later. I do this sometimes knowing I'll have to move it so I can have a temporary spot for that impulse buy plant I shouldn't have bought but did anyway! It's always better to plant it and leave it but plants are resilient beings. Becoming a master of time can also save you money in the long run. You can buy smaller plants that are less expensive and let them grow patiently to their mature size. Then you can have the satisfaction of telling your gardening friends "I planned it this way! I am Master of Space and Time!" (OK I doubt you'll say that but maybe you'll think that.) Let's not forget about the vegetable garden timing. Planting the right crop at the right time is essential to getting your garden to produce. It would be extremely tough to plant lettuce in the garden in July and probably just as difficult to plant squash and corn in March. It just doesn't work! The lettuce likes it cool and the squash and corn like the soil nice and warm. Timing is everything!

If you become a master of space and time in your garden and you you might not become a superhero but your plants will love you for it!

How to Build an Arbor (Part 2)

The next step to putting the arbor together after we set the posts was to assemble the top. The top section was made from 3 45" 4"x4" pieces set in a diamond position. The arbor top was designed to fit the 4"x4" pieces into the notched ends of the posts and they would also go through the front and back beams into the diamond shaped cutouts. For a decorative effect I beveled the ends of the 4x4 pieces which would add an extra diamond effect to the front. The top was assembled on the ground which saved time. (Each piece was sanded and stained before assembly.) The 4"x4" pieces were locked into place with the 2"x8" front and back beams by using brackets made from 2"x2"s. Once the top was put together it was a simple two person job to lift the top onto the notches. The great thing about this design is that once we put the top on we could let go without attaching it. The notches completely held the top in place making it easy to attach with screws.

The top slats came next. On the end of each slat (which were made from 48" long 2"x4"s) I cut a small triangle out to give the ends a beveled appearance. I saved the cut triangles and used them as brackets to brace the inside of the top slates against the front and back beams. This worked great and was much easier than cutting a 1.5" notch on each end of the the 2"x4" slats.

Then came the sides. I put two 2"x4" pieces that were about 29 inches long on each side. Then added the 2"x2" vertically between the 2"x4"s. The hanging diamonds were the last part to add. I made three diamonds for each side, one whose sides measure about 7 inches and the other two are about 10 inches. I put these together with 2" outdoor screws but I definitely recommend using small screws. The cuts were all at 45 degree angles which enabled them to fit nicely together. Then I pre-drilled holes for the screws and pieced them together. Next I added eyehooks at the center of the side 2"x4" pieces and at the corners of the diamond frames and hung them on the black chains.

I was excited when the solar lanterns went up since that meant the project was almost finished! I used the leftover cut outs from the ends of the cross beams to make brackets and drilled 1/2" holes through them then weaved the black chain through it. I screwed the black chain on what would eventually be the top and attached the bracket to the front posts of the arbor around 5 feet high. Then I hung the lanterns and stepped back to look at the scene!


I was so busy building the arbor that I just didn't take enough pictures of the process! I tried to use the cropped pictures of various sections to illustrate the building process. As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

How to Build an Arbor (Part 1)

As you know by now I chose to build an arbor for the Better Homes & Gardens 48 Hour Challenge. I've highlighted a few aspects of it over the last several weeks but I haven't put down a play by play of our challenge. Hopefully you can follow along and if you want to tackle this project you'll be ready, willing, and able!

How to Build An Arbor
Materials:
  • Wood: 4 8ft. 4"x4" for posts, 3 4"x4" for cross braces, 2 10' long 2"x8" for the front and back beam, 5 2"x4" sides and , 4 8ft. 2"x2", 2 8ft 1"x2" for the hanging diamonds.
  • 1 Gallon of natural cedar stain.
  • 4 - 50lb. bags of fast setting Concrete
  • Black chain and eyehooks
  • Two Solar Lanterns
  • Outdoor screws (I used 3.5" and 2" but smaller would have been fine)

After we had all the materials together we began with the plan. We cut the pieces to the appropriate lengths and began staining. We could have assembled the arbor first then stained but it would make it difficult to do the extra little things like the Japanese Maple Leaves we stained into the posts. The other disadvantage to staining after assembly would be the drips that might happen from up above and fall onto the wood pieces below.

We began with the four posts. The plan I made called for notches to be cut into the top of each post into "V" shapes. I used a miter saw but could only cut through the wood part of the way or risk cutting too much and ended up using a hand jig saw to complete the cuts. After that we sanded, stained and let dry.

When we did the second coat of stain we placed Japanese maple leaves on the post and painted the stain over them. This left a subtle impression behind.



While the posts were drying from the stain I worked on the cross beams that go across the front and back of the arbor. These were made from 10' long pieces of 2"x8" lumber cut down to 9 feet. I drew a design on each end by making a template out of cardboard and tracing the outline onto the ends of each board. I was very careful when cutting these pieces since I was going to use them as hangers for the solar lanterns later. A lot of measuring was involved in cutting the diamond shapes out. First I took a small piece of 4"x4" (which actually measures 3.5"x3.5") and used it as the diamond template. Then I drew a line lengthwise down the middle of the 2"x8" and measured the center and post diamonds. Since 4"x4" pieces would fit through both the front and the back I had to be very precise on the measurement. Once I had the center points I used the 4"x4" template to draw the diamonds by lining up the corners on the marked lines.


Then came the cuts. To make the cuts I used a 1/2" wood bit to drill holes into the corners of the diamond outlines. Then I came back with a jigsaw and cut the holes and the end pieces. It sounds easy but this step was the most tedious! When the diamond cuts are made I had to make sure that I cut a little more than what I marked since the 4"x4" pieces go through the holes and need that space. Then we sanded and stained.

The last step for this blog post was setting the posts in concrete. I dug the holes and centered the posts into the holes, then while my wife held the post I dumped the dry concrete mix into the hole and added water. No mixing was necessary with the fast setting concrete. Due to the high winds that day we measured multiple times to make sure the posts were straight and even with each subsequent post. This was a challenge and might have been done easier if we had screwed in sacrificial lumber to the posts to use as temporary support but we didn't want to harm the finish.

Continue to Part Two of How to Build an Arbor



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Propagating Asiatic Lilies From Leaves

I tried an experiment recently with some Asiatic lily leaves. I read in one of my favorite plant propagation manual that forming new plants from the leaves of lilies was possible. As always I'm open to trying anything with propagation so I gave it a shot.

How I Propagated Asiatic Lilies from Leaves


I took six leaves from an Asiatic lily by gently pulling them off in a downward motion to purposely retain a small amount of stem tissue at the base of each leaf. This didn't hurt the mother plants at all.


Then I treated the leaves with rooting hormone and put them in cups with about 2 inches of sand.





Then I filled an additional inch of sand over the treated ends of the leaves. This helped them to stand upright and covered the area for the bulb to form. I fit three cuttings in each cup so you really don't need much space to do this. Be sure to water your cuttings. Moisten the sand so that it is damp but not over saturated. Once watered you may want to cover with a plastic bag to help retain an even level of moisture.

About one month later I checked the cuttings by adding enough water to loosen the sand and here is what I found:


The newly formed bulb is ready to be transplanted into 4" pots to grow onward and upward and become a new lily. It will be at least a year and maybe two before it will flower but when you consider how many lilies can be made with this propagation process it is well worth it!

A quick cost analysis:
We recently bought a lily this weekend for around $6. If that is the going rate for most Asiatic lilies then these 6 lily plants I made through propagation just saved us $36. If you consider that you can take many more than six lily leaves per plant throughout the season you could exponentially increase that number. Isn't plant propagation great?