Many of our favorite woody shrubs and herbaceous plants can be started from cuttings.
Here is an easy method that can be used to root dozens of plants at home. You’ll need the following supplies:
- Sharp hand pruners.
- Clean plastic nursery pots (1, 2 or 3 gallon size) with drain holes.
- Well-drained sterile media such as perlite, vermiculite or fine pine bark.
- A sheet of clear plastic or large, clear plastic bags.
- Root promoter such as Rootone, Hormodin or Dip-N-Grow.
Recycled pots should be washed and rinsed. Fill each pot half full with well-drained potting mix. Avoid fine textured mixtures that look like soil – they won’t work. Water well to thoroughly wet the medium.
Take cuttings in early morning. Using sharp pruners remove 4 to 5 inch long pieces of terminal shoots from current season’s growth. Immediately place them in a plastic bag or a cooler if temperatures are high.
Once cuttings have been collected, prepare to stick them without delay. In a cool, shaded area recut the base of each cutting. Make a slanted cut just below a joint or node. Dip the cut end in a root promoter and stick it in the medium just deep enough to make it stand up without support. Cuttings can be spaced as close as 2 inches apart. A six-inch nursery pot will easily root a dozen cuttings.
Once pot is filled with desired number of cuttings, water again to help settle medium around cutting bases.
Stretch a clear plastic sheet tightly over the top of each pot and secure it with a large rubber band or string. Another option is to place the entire pot in a large, clear plastic bag and seal it. In either case, the plastic should not touch the cuttings.
Place this completed “propagation unit” in a bright area but in a place that never receives direct sun. Check each week to make sure that condensation is forming inside the plastic. As long as beads of moisture are seen, do not disturb. If the amount of condensation decreases, remove the top, water again, allow excess water to drain and replace the cover.
To learn more about plant propagation, you may attend a lecture on Plant Propagation by Sheila Dunning, UF/IFAS Commercial Horticulture Agent for Okaloosa County. Techniques required to be successful with a variety of plant propagation methods including seeds, divisions, cuttings and grafting will be shared.
A mini plant sale for attendees will follow the lecture featuring flowering nectar plants for butterflies and hummingbirds and larval host plants for butterflies.
The program will be held Wednesday, July 19 from 10 -11 a.m. at the Okaloosa Extension Annex, 127 Hollywood Blvd. N.W. in Fort Walton Beach. There is no cost to attend but space is limited so registration is required by calling (850) 689-5850.