I call this camellia "Imogene" because it came to our house as a cutting from the big, old bush by her backdoor.

Cuttings are fun, they’re thrifty and they make you proud.  There’s nothing like saying, “I grew it from a cutting”    

And the time is ripe, as they say.  Summer is a good time of year to try this kind  propagation.  

So go shopping in your garden–or your friends’ gardens.   Here’s a random list of plants that I’ve had success with over the years.  

Salvias, coleus, begonia, gardenia, vitex, acuba, hydrangea, azalea, kerria,  juniper, sweetbox, roses, camellia, rosemary, pittosporum– 

And here’ my method for making new plants from cuttings: 

  

  1.  Select healthy, non-blooming stems and branch tips.  Trim them and strip off the lower leaves.  The new roots will sprout at the old leaf nodes.
  2. Buy some rooting hormone powder to increase your success rate.  Look for this product at good garden supply centers.  Store it tightly closed and one jar will last for years.  Note–pour out  a small amount of powder for each cutting session.  Don’t dip plants in or the whole jar will become moist and no good. 
  3. While you’re gathering supplies, buy or make some very light potting medium.  Lots of air should get to the stems and new roots.  I had  potting mix on hand so I just added a product called Perlite (it’s the white stuff)  to lighten up the material. 
  4. Put the moist medium into clean containers and make  holes with a pen, pencil or chopstick.  That way the rooting powder won’t be scraped off as the cuttings  go in.  Notice the plural.  Always make more cuttings than you think you will need.  All of them won’t take (set or make new roots).  So make 10  cuttings instead of two if you can.
  5. Stick the prepared cuttings into the holes, press the mix around the stems and water well.  Note that I have cut most of the leaves in half.  Two benefits–less moisture loss, so less plant stress–And it keeps the cuttings from overlapping which could cause mold and other nasty things.
  6. Put them in a humid enviroment.  A greenhouse or mist bed is great but I don’t have either.  I put my cuttings in a large, well drained flower pots and over with plastic wrap and a big rubber band. 

7. The whole pot goes outside in a spot where it will get noticed everyday but get no direct sun.  If it looks too dry, I will water and mist the cuttings.  Too wet–I’ll vent the plastic.  After about 2-3 weeks, I’ll tug on the cuttings to see if they are sticking (because of new roots).  Then I will gradually remove the plastic, throw away the cuttings that didn’t take and take good care of the ones that did–so I can brag on them in the spring when I set them out or give them away.  

A final note about success with cuttings–Don’t give up!  I set 3 cuttings of  blog-partner, Melissa’s gardenia bush.  Only one took and the leaves on it died.  But then it put out a beautiful new set of leaves.  Welcome to my garden Melissa’s lovely gardenia!  

Brag, brag, brag…this gardenia cutting from Melissa’s garden is off and growing at my house–

Any other propagators out there?  Please leave a comment and add to my list of easy plants. 

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