As everyone’s stock portfolio has shrunk, you’re probably looking for ways to cut back and save money in your monthly budget. On the other hand, you’d love to add lots of those expensive host and nectar plants to your yard to bring in butterflies. You can save money and add pricey plants with a little bit of ingenuity. Here’s how I do it.
A friend recently asked me to provide him with eight Butterfly Bushes, Buddleia davidii.
I went online at the Jackson and Perkins site, and eight of the Butterfly Bushes would have cost him $135.60 + around $15.00 for shipping. I told him I’d supply him with the plants for no charge.
No, I’m not a lottery winner.
What I’ve learned through experimentation is that butterfly bushes are extremely easy to propagate from cuttings during the early spring. Here are the basics which can be applied to propagating many plants.
Plant Propagation Checklist
1. Buy a soil-less potting mix (without fertilizer if possible) and rooting hormone from your local garden supply store. Note – I have used Miracle potting mix with success also. Put as much as you think you’ll need in a large plastic container, add water and mix it with your hand until it is thoroughly wet.
2. Cut off tender, young, healthy, thick shoots, three inches or longer, from the plant in early spring. You don’t want the real small tender stems and you don’t want the hardened brown stems – you want the healthy, thick stems in-between.
3. Remove the bottom leaves and many of the top leaves. You want to eliminate a lot of the surface area.
4. Place these cuttings in a glass of water temporarily.
5. Take your cuttings inside out of the sun.
6. Put the wet potting mixture in a four to six inch pot and water the mix until saturated. You want to get the soil wet. Let it drain.
You can also use any container you want. I prefer the seed starting kits for most of my plants. I can start 36 plants at a time that way.
7. Poke holes in the potting mixture about an inch deep with a pencil .
8. Remove cuttings from water and dip them into the rooting hormone.
9. Put each cutting into a pencil hole and firm the mix around the cutting.
10. Place all cuttings into your pot as described and mist the leaves with water.
11. Use a plastic bag to enclose the pot and tie it off.
If you’re using a kit – just put the clear plastic top on.
What you’re trying to do is keep the humidity very high.
12. Place the pot where it can get plenty of light, but not in the direct sun. I start might down in the basement under shop lights.
13. You should have roots in four to eight weeks.
When you see new growth and roots, take off the plastic and then transplant your cuttings to normal potting soil.
14. You will then need to harden these plants outside. I usually keep mine in partial shade for a couple of weeks.