Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Propagating Plants

I have a rose cutting blooming in a pot. I failed to label it. Labeling decreases my chances of their rooting. Rooting plants requires a certain amount of magical powers.

The rose that is blooming looks much like this one.
It's raining outside, so you can't see a picture of my little cart of cuttings.

Most of us 'get lucky' if we stick enough cuttings and plant enough seeds.
It is very helpful to have a good book on propagation instead of buying yet another pretty book that doesn't tell you much about growing.
Knowing certain things increases our chances of success. When you learned from another gardener who broke off a piece of a plant and said, "Here, stick this in the ground and it will root' and it did, it seemed too easy.

It's helpful to know:
What kind of cutting -- greenstick, softwood, hardwood. What does that mean?
When to stick -- spring, summer, fall, winter.
Does this cutting need to take up water, or does it need to form a callus before it's stuck?
What about nodes?
Can a particular rooted cutting go into the ground right away or does it need to be potted up for a while?
What is the best medium for this cutting?

Will cuttings work for a particular plant or do you need seed?
Does a certain desirable plant throw viable seeds?
How long before I can expect seeds to sprout -- some take up to a year.
Do these seeds need a cold period? Bottom heat?
Should I plant seeds from these bulbs? How long before I'll see a bloom?

What happens if the dog is chasing the cat and the cat steps on the seedling? -- Don't laugh, it happens.


  1. My grandmother said the the only time you can't take cuttings is when no one will give them to you.

  2. Always a pleasure to visit you and enjoy your knowledge of plants. We are getting rain this week - hope you are too!

  3. I don't know a thing about "cuttings" but I like Madeline's grandmother's advice. This isn't quite the same, but last winter our mighty oak tree was sick and had to be cut down. In the spring, I found one of its "babies" had sprouted in the ground. It couldn't stay in that location so for now it's in a pot and growing. Now I wonder what to do with it during our Zone 4 winter. Please send us some of your rain. Looking at your rose photo, everything looks lush and green where you live.

  4. I wish I could send you some rain. We have had the wettest July on record.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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