Sunday, June 1, 2008

Propagation Station

So all of this probably old hat for most experienced gardeners, but it is what I've been doing this weekend, and maybe there is a newbie or two out there who might benefit. If you are like me, maybe you just like to see what other people do. I've been cutting back all of plants, especially in the butterfly garden, to make sure everything looks nice and lush for July 4th. As a result, I've started A LOT of cuttings this weekend. In addition, I've been gathering seeds and dividing plants. But first I thought I'd show my new little trick this season, a Propagation Station!

Even though I have rooted plants in soil for years, I'm only just realizing how crucial humidity is. Without sufficient humidity, water transpires out the leaves quicker than it can take it up through its new roots and plants wilt. Some times they bounce back, sometimes they don't. To increase humidity, I've put my plants in a large, clear plastic bin, which seems to be working well. I strip off most of the leaves and as soon as new leaves start to appear, take the plants out to harden off on the table. If you want to do something similar, be sure to keep it in a shaded area where the plants won't over heat and air out daily, or drill circulation air holes.

With certain plants I just get lazy. The ruellia (left) and the sweet potato vine (right) easily root in water or soil, so I often go the easy route and throw them in some water.

When I feel more ambitious, I will collect certain plants. Here is some of the salvia I was offering. (1.) I'll wait for a dried stalk on the plant and put it in a baggie, collecting several. (2.) After pulling out the stems, (3.) I'll smoosh and smash the baggie until the seeds separate and fall to the bottom of the baggie. (4.) I put the pile on a white piece of paper to clearly see the seeds and pull the flower husks out. Wa-La! Seeds.

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