If you’re looking for ways to save money in your monthly budget, but still would like to have lots of garden plants, here is one option – Cuttings. Early Fall is a great time to start this process. Don’t wait until later as the plant physiology starts to change and you’ll have less success with the cuttings.
- Buy a soil-less potting mix, rooting hormone, Osmocote and a seed germination tray from your local garden supply store. If you can buy an extra bottom tray that would make it easier and safer when moving the trays around. I prefer the trays with 36 cells per tray. You don’t want soil, but a potting mix without soil. I prefer BX Promix since this is what professionals use. It’s more expensive and can be hard to find.
- Put as much potting mix as you think you’ll need in a large plastic container, add water and mix it with your hand until it is moist. I usually add a bit of Osmocote to the potting mix.
- Put the wet potting mixture in a seed germination tray. I prefer the seed starting kits for most of my plants. I can start 36 plants at a time that way. Firm the soil down and add a bit more mix. Make sure the mix is moist. Note – I cut out one cell so that I can water the whole tray from the bottom.
- Poke holes in the cell potting mixture about an inch deep with a pencil .
- Cut off tender, young, healthy, thick shoots from the plant in early fall. 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. I usually cut off longer stems that I will later divide into cuttings.
- Spray the cuttings with water to get off as many bugs as possible.
- Place these cuttings in a plastic container of water temporarily.
- Take your cuttings inside out of the sun.
- Divide your cuttings into segments two inches long. Take off the flowers and most of the top leaves. You want to eliminate a lot of the surface area.
- Remove the cuttings from the water and dip the bottom cut into the rooting hormone.
- Put each cutting into the pencil hole and firm the mix around the cutting.
- Mist the leaves with water.
- Put on the clear plastic top on. What you’re trying to do is keep the humidity very high.
- Place the pot where it can get plenty of light, but not in direct sun. I start mine down in the basement under shop lights. I place the lights directly on top of the clear cover.
- Check the plants every day or two to make sure it stays moist. If the leaves seem dry, spray.
- After a month, check the bottoms of the cells to see if you have roots. You should have roots in four to eight weeks.
- When you have roots, take off the top.
- I use an oscillating fan in the basement on the plants to help prevent disease and to make the plants stronger.
- When you see new growth and roots, take off the plastic and then transplant your cuttings to normal potting soil.
- Add Osmocote to the top of each plant or use a water soluble weak fertilizer mix.
- April – You will need to harden these plants outside. I usually keep mine in partial shade for a couple of weeks.
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