It’s been crazy, springtime busy around here, and it’s also crazy beautiful. The mountain laurel in my yard peaked on Mother’s Day weekend.
That’s our newest addition to the family, Layla. Isn’t she cute? Anyway, one of the things that I’ve been doing is rooting cuttings. Not because I need any more plants, but because I wanted to prune my Persian shield so that it would branch more. I find it hard to just toss the cutting on the compost pile when, with a little effort, I can have another beautiful plant. I love plants!
I’m about to cut it back.
It’s easy and fun to root cuttings. First, fill small pots with potting soil, put them in a waterproof container, and water with rainwater or dechlorinated water to settle the soil. Leave some water in the bottom of the container so that the soil will stay very wet for the first week. Next, trim the cutting that you will later remove. If it’s tall, remove the top. Then cut any large leaves in half. That’s a really good trick to help plants that lack an adequate root system. Plants are like big water pumps; they suck water up through their roots, and it evaporates through their leaves. – “Evaporate” is probably not the correct term, but you know what I mean. – Cutting the leaves in half reduces the rate at which the plant loses water and helps it survive until it can make some roots. This is what it looked like before removal:
Make the final cut just above the first set of leaves that you didn’t cut in half, and then quick-like-a-bunny push it into the prepared pot.
If you use rooting hormone, don’t just shove it in the soil; you’ll wipe off the hormone. Use a stick to make a hole that’s a little bigger than the stem, put the cutting in the hole and gently pat the soil around the stem. But lots of plants, like coleus and sedum, root easily without messing with the hormone.
Basil is another plant that roots very easily, even without rooting hormone.
When the container is full, put a lid on it. I use a second container placed upside-down. I call it “the cooker”.
Put the cooker where the sun don’t shine, in the deep shade of the porch, for about ten days, and then take the lid off. After another four days, take your plant out of the tray and slowly transition it to more light. Watch closely, and if you see signs of stress, go back a step or two.
You know how on cooking shows, after they put the dish in the oven, they open a different oven and take out a hot, bubbly delicious thing, so you can see it all done? Well, look in the nursery.
I made those a few weeks ago, and once they get a little stronger, I’ll give them to my daughter, Monica. Thanks for editing my blog honey. I love you.