Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Plant Propagation: This Week's Cuttings

When the opportunity presents itself I take cuttings. Who am I kidding? I make the opportunity to take cuttings! When I successfully get a new plant to root it's like finding gold. OK, not really, but it really does save a few dollars. Think about it for a second, if a perennial at the store costs $6 but instead you propagate 3 from home you just added the value of $18 to your garden without spending money! Now think, what if you propagated 10-20 plants? (which is very easy to do from one or two plants) Now you can get inside my head (not always a wise thing to do) and see the financial side of my plant propagating addiction.

The benefit of propagating my own plants carries over into the garden design area too. When people talk about garden design one particular concept always stands out: repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, echo...echo...echo. Short of spending thousands of dollars to repeat similar plant purchases I can root them at home. And again the money aspect pops in!

The other reason is insurance. Just consider plant propagation as a life insurance policy for the perennials. If you make a few copies of the original you have a backup in case one gets damaged by the cold weather, was planted in a bad spot, or gets devoured by deer (which has happened more than once to me!). I tend to plant my back-up plants in different areas of the yard which helps to increase the odds of survival. If one plant goes to plant heaven I just don't have to worry about finding a new one or spending any more money. It's funny how it all comes back to money!


Here are the cuttings I've taken so far this week:
  • 'Husker's Red' Penstemon 4
  • Salvia coccinea 'Texas sage' 3
  • River Birch (Betula nigra) 4
  • Kerria japonica 2
  • Hydrangea 2
  • Butterfly Bush 3
  • Solidago (Golden rod) 2
  • Heuchera 3 (this is an experiment to see how easily heucheras root from a leaf cutting with a little bit of the root crown attached. I tried this once last year and managed to root one heuchera but let it die due to negligence!)

I also potted up 7 'Walker's Low' Catmint rooted cuttings and 3 Monarda cuttings. It's a busy time of year but I love it!

10 comments :

  1. Dave, We can always count on you for good info on propagation. I'd be interested to know your success with the river birch, one of my favourite trees.

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  2. Helen,

    I'm a big fan of river birches too. I managed one success last year but it is struggling right now to put on leaves. It's recommended to do birch cuttings with green growth about 3 inches long.

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  3. I'm on board! This is the first spring I've started to propogate- because of Fairegarden's advice and your's. I took cuttings of my feverfew and chrysanthemums yesterday. I ended up not having time to do anything with them so I put them in a vase and will pot them up today. I figured the plants might get bushier with the pinching off of the tops and I might have more plants come fall!

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  4. Jill,

    That is a great strategy! I do that with the mums - and should be doing that soon too. It seems wasteful to just toss out those cuttings doesn't it? Just make a few plants and save a few bucks!

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  5. I wish I had the patience and a green house to propogate as you make it seem so easy!

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  6. I rook some cuttings from my stepmother's bridal wreath spirea several weeks ago and am trying to propagate them. The plant started as a cutting from my stepmother's mother's garden. Another reason to love propagation - some of these plants have so much history and meaning!

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  7. I love propagation... but have never worked with heucheras.. I'll give it a shot.

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  8. It's because money is the root of all evil. Actually, the Good Book says it's the love of money, not love of propagating plants.

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  9. Good info Dave. This is a good time for me to have more mums. Some of them survived the awful winter.

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  10. Nice work and I do that with the mums - and should be doing that soon too.keep it up

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