Thursday, June 14, 2012

Free Plants Part Two: Cuttings

Propagation from cuttings is relatively simple, though we've had the lowest success rates with this method. We're becoming increasingly conscientious in our experiments, however, and have lots of hope for future success. 

We collect cuttings from nearly any plant we're interested in growing, popping or cutting off a stem of new growth at the node. We take pieces of plants from nurseries and from yards. It's polite and ethical to ask the permission of the plant owner or retailer first. Big box nurseries like Home Depot tend not to be very proprietary over a stem or two. 

It's important to make a clean cut so as to not infect the rest of the plant. If the stem doesn't pop off easily, a sterile pocket knife can be used. 

The ideal size for a new cutting is 3-5". Avoid plants with flowers or buds because you want a cutting that will put its energy into root production rather than reproduction. 

Plant in a rich potting soil. We're using the same EcoScraps Organic Potting Mix that we hustle on weekends. It's good stuff.

To maintain higher humidity, we cover the cuttings with our free cloches: halved plastic milk cartons.

With consistent moisture, sunlight, and good soil, the cutting should start rooting quickly. To help the rooting process along, we use a free, natural rooting hormone that I'll write about soon.

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