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Making More Plants
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

August 7, 2011

If you are thinking of saving some special plants such as your favourite Fuchsia or Geranium; you may want to try starting new plants from cuttings.

Many plants can be started from cuttings. Unlike plants grown from seed, plants grown from cuttings usually produce an exact duplication or clone of the parent plant. Many plant cuttings will root in a container of water. Others require a little more care to produce roots.

When collecting cuttings outdoors, moisten them, place them in a sealed plastic bag, and keep them in a cool shaded place. All cuttings require constant moisture,and humidity, (except for some succulent or woolly plants like Pelargoniums, and Cacti, which are allowed to lose some moisture before planting).

Keep conditions as antiseptic as possible. A dusting of Sulphur powder helps to control diseases. Stem cuttings; are 2" - 6" cuttings taken from the tips of stems. Make a clean cut without crushing the stem. Use a sharp knife or razor. Make the bottom cut on a 45 degree angle about 1/4 inch below a leaf node. Remove all flowers, and flower buds, and bottom sets of leaves.

Place a small amount of rooting hormone in a small separate container, rather than its original container (so that when you dip the cuttings you do not risk contamination of all of your rooting hormone), dispose of leftover used hormone. Dip the freshly cut end of the stem in water, then in rooting hormone. Shake off excess from cutting.

Use 4 inch deep, moistened, rooting medium of 1/2 sterile course sand (not beach sand), and 1/2 vermiculite or peat. Make holes in the medium slightly larger than the stem cutting (usually a pencil will serve well as a dibble to make the planting holes). Insert the cutting at least 1 inch into the medium, being sure that no foliage will touch the medium. Firm in the cutting, and water, be sure containers drain well after watering. Cover the container with a plastic bag, use a bent wire frame in the container to keep the plastic from touching the leaves of the cuttings. Close the bag with a twist tye, and poke a few holes in the plastic for ventilation.

Place the container in, indirect natural light (a north window for example), or under a florescent light (keep light 6 to 10 inches above the container). Keep the temperature at an average of 70 degrees F. /or about 10 degrees above what is normal for the growth of the mature plant. Never let the medium dry out.

When new growth appears, open the plastic bag, to admit air. Keep lightly moist. Transplant cuttings, when roots are 1/2 to 1 inch long. Use a mixture of 1/4 vermiculite, 1/4 course sand, and 1/2 sterilized potting soil. Use a container with good drainage.

Remember to harden off plants, before planting out doors; and to acclimatize plants gradually as they are brought indoors.

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