Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Propagate Plants Cheaply With Cuttings

photos by Dianne Smith

Geraniums, roses and begonias are just a few of the many varieties of flowers that can be quickly multiplied through cuttings. Commercial nurseries grow many of their plants from leaf or stem cuttings off a parent plant, but anyone can master the simple technique. The process circumvents nature's usual propagation from seedlings, saving time and money.

Planting Cuttings Saves Time and Money

With daily watering, stem cuttings will sprout roots equal to the maturity of the stem, a shortcut to the growing process. Within a short time, the plant will look older than it is and be ready for planting in the ground. In a winter climate, this is a head start on spring planting.

Propagating new plants from cuttings is also economical as Mother Nature doesn't send an invoice. A garden can multiply itself using her free gifts of plant cell regeneration, rain, and sunlight. For a 
Cut Stem on Slant
Underneath a Node
garden filled with a variety of flowers, ask friends and others for permission to use cuttings from their prize rosebushes and flower beds. A beautiful garden can thus be grown cheaply.

A plant cutting can start its new life in a pot indoors during any season, but during late spring or summer, it can be planted directly in the ground. For the best results, begin with "easy to grow" plants like fuchsias, lupines, chrysanthemums, geraniums or begonias.

How to Propagate a Geranium or Begonia Cutting
  • a geranium or begonia plant
  • pot containing soil or a garden after the winter frost
  • scissors or small pruning shears
  • plant hormone root powder, if desired
  • water
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  1. During the early morning or evening, cut a three to eight-inch long stem from the mother plant 
    Remove Leaves at Node
    one-half inch under a node, the place where a leaf is sprouting. Use a "young stem," rather than an older part of the plant, and pinch off its developing tip. Make the cut on a slanted angle, so as to maximize the new growing surface.
  2. Gently remove any leaves from the lower two-inches of the stem, including the node.
  3. Wet the cut end of the stem. If desired, dip it in a hormone root powder that can be purchased at a nursery, and shake off the excess.
  4. Make a one to two-inch deep hole in a pot or a shady spot in a garden after the danger of frost is over. Plant cuttings need warmth and moisture to flourish.
  5. Carefully place the bottom of the stem in the dirt hole. Push dirt into the hole and pat it down firmly all around the stem. Make sure the dirt covers one-inch above the bottom node. 
    Plant With Dirt Covering
    One-Inch Above the Node
  6. Water the dirt around the stem, and repeat the watering every day for ten days. 
  7. The plant will have taken root, and should be watered and fertilized with the rest of the garden.

The Frugal Gardener. Videocassette, Creative Marketing Corporation, 1986.

Ivy Geraniums Grown From Stem Cuttings

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