Pre-Spring Gardening-Cuttings

Mid January in zone 6.5 is not very spring-like, but not too early to be gardening. In the summer I did what I could to make sure the Hibiscus was pollinated.

 In the fall I harvested a lot of seeds. and now I am tending a few seedlings.

 Most of the seeds I gathered were from plants that I had started from seed two years ago. These seedlings will mature in the garden but might not actually bloom until the 2022 season.

Many plants are easy to propagate with cuttings. Among the easiest is Coleus and Perilla. 

In the fall I took cuttings of my Red Perilla and Lime Coleus. After two and a half months they have grown enough to take additional cuttings....

With Perilla and Coleus starting cuttings is as simple as cutting off a stem, stripping off the lower leaves and inserting it into the soil. A greenhouse helps but the same kind of environment can be achieved by placing the newly planted cuttings inside a large plastic bag.

Jade cuttings are probably the easiest. I don't think I've ever had one fail.

 The technique is the same; strip the leaves from the lower stem, large or small, and insert the cutting into the soil. This plants roots easily. I have discovered discarded leaves setting roots on the ground where they fell. Cuttings can be taken anytime. You can even place cuttings directly in the garden if danger of frost has passed. Garden cuttings can be successfully (easily) potted in the fall and be taken in for the winter.

Plectranthus (Purple Swedish Ivy) is another plant that roots well from cuttings.   Plectranthus does well as a house plant in the winter and thrives outside the rest of the year. This variety trails low to the ground and is also an excellent plant for a hanging basket.

Sweet Potato Vine transplants well in the fall and by mid-February or early March will yield dozens of healthy cuttings that take root quickly. 

A greenhouse has obvious advantages, but cuttings can be done in a kitchen, sun room or any room in the house. A plastic bag is enough to provide an individual greenhouse effect and many times the cutting will work without it. 

A rooting compound is often helpful and many gardeners recommend it. It can be purchased at most garden centers. I have had the same success rate with and without the compound. Good soil and moisture are the key factors in rooting your cuttings. I like to add a little sand to my potting soil. It has worked well for me. Taking cuttings and growing them helps the snowy and cold weeks of winter pass more quickly.

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