Plant Propagation Guide

Here is a little guide on various plants that you can propagate in your home garden. I've included the types of propagation where I've been successful (seeds, Layering, Division, Cuttings, etc.).  If I can do it so can you! Propagating Perennials Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation Artemisia 'Powis Castle'Cuttings, Layering MilkweedAsclepias incarnataCuttings, Seeds CatmintNepetaCuttings, Division, Seeds ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea, E. paradoxa, E. augustifoliaCuttings, Division, Seeds HostaDivision, Seeds (may not come true from seed) Russian SagePerovskia atriplicifoliaHardwood and Softwood Cuttings Salvia Salvia nemorosaCuttings, Seeds   Propagating Shrubs and Trees Trees and shrubs can be propagated from a variety of methods.  Always get good, clean, disease free material when taking cuttings. Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation Birch (River)Betula nigraCuttings HydrangeaH. macrophylla, H. serrata Cuttings Hydrangea (Oak Leaf)Hydrangea quercifoliaCuttings, Seeds Japanese MapleAcer palmatumCuttings, Grafting, Seeds Red Twig DogwoodCornus sericea, C. alba Cuttings Viburnum 'Shasta'Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosaCuttings, Layering   Propagating Annuals Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation…

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Propagating Peppers Through Cuttings

You might think that peppers are one of those seed only grown plants.  For many gardeners they are.  We sow the seeds in late winter and grow the seedlings on to plant out in the spring but there is another way we can get more peppers.  Peppers respond very well to cuttings.  Recently I took a cutting of the 'Ghost' pepper (Bhut Jolokia) to try grow a few more. Why would you want to take cuttings of peppers? For one thing peppers are perennials and can come back repeatedly as long as they are not killed by frost.  This makes pepper plants excellent for bringing indoors in the fall before cold weather hits.  Peppers brought indoors can even produce in the winter under the right conditions (excellent light and good heat).  In the fall you have all your pepper plants out in the garden. Rather than dig them up take…

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Propagating Stevia from Cuttings

There are some plants that are tricky to propagate but stevia isn't one of them! Stevia rebaudiana is an herb used as a substitute sweetener for sugar.  It isn't reliably hardy here in Tennessee even though I did have a plant come back one year.  Since then I've kept a plant in a pot to bring indoors for the winter.  I've tried to grow stevia from seed but had a lot of difficulty in getting good germination which is why I turn to cuttings.  Taking a cutting of stevia is as simple as it can be.  I trim a stem or branch just above a set of leaves, leave two leaves on the top of the cutting and stick the bottom end of the cutting in moist sand. Rooting hormone is not necessary. I kept the cuttings moist for about 3-4 weeks and found the root system to be very…

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Propagating Birch Trees from Softwood Cuttings

Spring means it's time to take some cuttings!  Today I took a few cuttings of a birch tree I'm eventually going to have to remove.  I planted it way too close to our house and it has gotten too large.  I didn't want to lose the tree so I thought I would get a few to root and maybe plant plant one in a better location. For these birch tree cuttings I wanted the green stem tip growth.  I was looking for cuttings that were between 2-4 inches in length and green.  Here are a few pieces I trimmed off initially.  they still have some of the older wood material from the birch tree. I trimmed the greenwood off of the old wood and stripped the leaves off to make cuttings with single leaves.    Then I put the cuttings in a jar of water to stay hydrated while I…

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Propagating Lavender through Cuttings

This morning I went out to the garden and took a few lavender cuttings. Lavender is a popular perennial for many gardeners since it blooms beautifully, smells great, and is very useful for making various crafts.  A few years ago I started some lavender seeds which have grown into a small lavender shrub in our front yard.  The green softwood growth in spring is ideal for taking cuttings so I figured I would try to root some more for myself and my farmers market customers. (More on Plant Propagation) I took several cuttings that ranged from 2 inches to 4 inches in length.  The ideal length is about 4 inches but some of these cuttings came off as I snipped small groups of branches. Kind of a collateral cutting situation. I stripped the lower half of the cutting of its leaves very carefully.  Fragile greenwood cuttings like these are easy to rip…

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A Plant Propagation Tip: Make a Mini Greenhouse

A couple weeks ago my wife stopped an bought us some croissants at the grocery store for dinner.  The croissants came in a clear plastic box container.  It was a little over a foot long and a little less than that wide, but the dimensions don't really matter.  The plastic box was tall enough to work in an idea I had.  I brought the box out to the garden with my pruners and some rooting hormone.  You can probably see where this is going. I went to the front garden where I have three 'Otto Luyken' laurels as foundation plantings and took 13-14 cuttings from them.  The cuttings ranged between 4 and 6 inches long. I stripped the cuttings of all leaves except for 1-2 at the top of each cutting.  Then I dipped the cuttings in the rooting hormone and stuck them right in the ground directly behind the…

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Do You Have The Right Stuff to Propagate Plants?

Plant propagation sounds like something very complicated.  A lot of gardeners are intimidated by the idea of getting something to root.  It looks challenging but in reality there are a great number of plants that are very easy to propagate.  That's not to say that a cutting will grow roots each and every time.  In fact I've lost many cuttings in my plant propagation experiences.  Sometimes it was something I did or didn't do right, but other times it just happened.  Not every cutting will take root and grow but by providing the right conditions you can increase the number of successes! Oak Leaf Hydrangea Cutting The Right Equipment for Rooting Plants When I say the word equipment the next thing in your head might be "Oh great, how much is this going to cost?"  You might be surprised at how little propagating plants actually does cost. There is always…

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A Review of Rootcups

A few weeks ago Mr. Brownthumb posted an interview with the inventor of Rootcups on Treehugger. Rootcups are an easy to use propagation device that the home gardener can use to help propagate some of their favorite plants.  I contacted Mr. Brownthumb because I was curious about the product and and then got in touch with Mike who sent me a few to review.  I'm always interested in new plant propagation devices and tricks and thought that his idea might be useful for home gardeners. The Rootcups are made of a non-toxic material and are fairly small in size which makes them easy to put on a windowsill. The top of the Rootcup has a slit and a round hole in the center to allow the plant stem to easily be removed from later.  I was sent a set of green Rootcups and a set of gray Rootcups but they…

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Gift Options for the Plant Propagator!

As you know I'm a huge fan of plant propagation.  I would bet that many of you reading this are too, or if you not a huge fan you are at least interested!  It's a fascinating area and can be an amazing benefit for growing your garden.  Just think of all the free plants you can make from cuttings, or how you can expand your garden with seeds, divisions, and layered branches.  You don't have to spend a fortune to plant your garden when you know how to propagate plants.  Today I'm going to share a few gift ideas for those of us who enjoy propagating plants. Books on Plant Propagation Books are a fantastic gift idea for any gardener.  I reference my gardening library frequently and as you can expect the books I utilize the most are the ones on plant propagation.  My most frequently reference resource is Plant…

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Reusing Materials for a Cold Frame

Over the weekend I spent about 30 minutes piecing together a cold frame to do some hardwood cuttings.  The process for building a cold frame is very similar to building a raised bed.  I used some old pressure treated lumber that used to belong to a deck, an old storm door without the glass, and a couple 4"x4" scrap pieces to make some secure corners.  Pressure treated wood, depending on its age, may contain arsenic but newer pressure treated wood used copper based treatments to preserve it.  Since this bed is for cuttings and not vegetables there's no reason to worry about the arsenic.  (I suspect the wood I'm using was treated with the copper treatment.) I cut the wood to fit the storm door then used some 2" deck screws to secure it to the corner posts.  A flat surface is very helpful - mine wasn't!  Underneath the bed…

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