February 17th, 2010
I am absolutely amazed at the capacity for plants to regenerate from all sorts of bits and pieces – leaves, roots, stems and of course, seeds – aren’t plants clever? Propagation by seed is one of the most popular ways of creating new plants and it is heaps of fun!
Another easy method to make new plants is division, this method is suitable for clumping perennials like clivias, agapanthus and bearded iris. It is done when flowering is finished and the plant is entering a growth cycle. Cut back the green leafy material above the ground and dig out the clump with a large fork. Then, divide the clump into several pieces, using a sharp, strong knife. Replant the clumps and water in. – Plants for free!!
You can also take tip cuttings, this is the best method for a wide range of woody plants, including camelias, azaelias, fuchia etc. Cuttings are ideally taken in mid to late summer, now in fact. I use what I prune, pretty much whenever I prune and am in the mood to create. Cuttings should be 10 to 15 cm long with three or four sets of ‘eyes’. Remove half of the lower leaves and dip the end in a rooting hormone powder to assist the strike rate. If you don’t have any rooting hormone powder you can try honey, it works well. Make a little hole in your propagating mix with a chop stick, then pop in your cutting. Water and make sure to keep it damp while your new little plants work away at making roots.
The thing is to try it! It is really magic, and if you have some children about try putting a little cutting of a fuchsia or pelargonium into a glass of water and watch the roots form over the next month. Plants are clever creatures!