Sometimes We All Need a Little Help… Especially Cuttings

In my quest to have all the plants this time of year I’ve turned to plant propagation.  It’s also kinder to my budget. The last time we were together we talked about water propagation techniques.  Today I wat to show you soil propagation which can be a little tricky unless you have magic root powder. That’s right we are going a little mad scientist today and will be using rooting hormones. 

You can find it under a variety of brand names typically in the garden section of big box stores, garden shops and plant nurseries. Heads up rooting hormone is a very fine powder if you spill it you will be wiping and sweeping for a very long time.  That’s why I set up using my handy dandy soil collector.  Yes, I am working on my lanai in February and lots of places are still buried in snow and ice.  I am sorry about that; you may want to set-up on a baking sheet or in your sink to contain spills.

 I will demo three different types of cuttings.  Rosemary from a live plant that I purchased at the local grocery store, Organic Thyme in a clam shell purchased at the same grocery store and lucky bamboo purchased from the nursery section of a big box store.    Why these three plants?  I have never had much luck with transplanting this live rosemary found in my produce section of my grocery store, I read on-line that you can root fresh herbs from clam shells and need to give it a try, and I love lucky bamboo so more is better.

I always start with a very basic container preparation. 

After rinsing out my container I added a few stones to the bottom of the planter.  Then I fill the container with a mixture of potting mix and peat moss.  The peat moss helps keep the soil from clumping (friable) we don’t want our newly forming roots to struggle.

Then I dampen the soil with water.  Now this is a little subjective, I suggest adding a little water at a time until the soil is damp to touch.  There should not be any puddles of water on the soil surface.

I like to use the blunt end of a wooden skewer to make holes in the soil. It makes it a little easier to insert the cuttings.

With a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears clip cuttings to about a 4-inch length if possible.  With both the rosemary and thyme gently strip the leaves from the bottom 3rd of the cutting.  Gather those leaves into a small container for cooking.

You will dip each of the cuttings in water and then into the rooting hormone.  Once the bare stem is coated in the rooting powder then insert each stem into the soil.  I like to gently firm the soil around the cuttings with my fingertip.  Then I spritz the surface of the soil with my water bottle.

Place your cutting in a bright but indirect light.  I know you are thinking what does that mean?  Ok here is my personal definition: put your cuttings under a lamp that you can leave on for 6 hours or more or on a tray or table near a sunny window. 

Keep the soil damp to touch but this is not the time for a rainstorm.  Once you see signs of new  growth such as a new leaf forms or the stem growing taller you can transplant your cuttings to individual containers.

Good luck and let me know how your cuttings do.

Share your thoughts