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  • #14641


    I copied this ages ago from Edith Smith in Florida. I hope it is useful:

    The wonderful thing about growing new plants from cuttings is that it saves us money. This may be a strange thing for a nursery to teach, but our stand is that whatever makes butterfly gardening more fun for you is best for us also. Here is an outline of instructions for propagating butterfly plants or other plants from a stem of a plant you or a friend already own.

    Use sterile pots and utensils! Mix 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and dip pots andutensils for a minute. Rinse and drain. This is the method of sterilizing approved by those who certify nurseries for Organic Certification in the State of Florida.

    Use quality media. Media is the term used for a mix that actually doesn’t contain soil. It has peat, vermiculite, and possibly perlite and moss. Cheap soil will clump and inhibit root development and growth. If you prefer, use a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones usually speed root development and make possible the rooting of some plants that would be extremely difficult to root otherwise. (Milkweed and lantana doesn’t need rooting hormone.)

    Roots breathe. If left in water or media too saturated the result is a plant that will die and the roots rot. Don’t water too often, instead, when you do water, water until you see water running out of the bottom of the pot. Experience is the best teacher. How often you water depends on the humidity, the temperature, the media you use, and other factors. Don’t let the soil dry out but don’t keep it soggy.

    Be sure your parent plant is healthy and vigorous if possible. However, if you have a plant that is doing badly, many times you can take a cutting and start a new plant from that cutting before the original plant dies.

    Some plants are choosy and must be propagated at certain times of the year. As you experiment, you’ll learn when to propagate each species.

    Using sterile pots, sterile utensils, and quality media, prepare your pots for the cutting. Fill the pot almost full of media and water thoroughly. Be sure the top of the media has a slight dip toward the center, like a bowl. This causes the water to run toward the center when watering after it has rooted instead of running to the edge of the pot and out the bottom. Have all your tools ready to use.

    Cut the stem of the plant you wish to propagate to a little over 5 inches long and immediately place the cut end in water. Some plants will need to be cut longer. The general rule is to have at least one leaf node (where the leaves branch off the stem) under the media and a minimum of two leaf nodes above the media.When ready to insert your cutting into the media, cut the top tip of the cutting off the stem. This causes the new plant to branch instead of grow straight upward in just one stalk. Strip the bottom two inches of the plant of leaves. Re-cut the bottom 1/2 inch or so of stem but be sure the cut is about 1/3 to1/2 inch below where leaves were growing. If you prefer to use rooting hormone (such as Hormodin) dip the bottom inch into the rooting hormone. Insert the stem into the media about 1-1/2 inches. Cover the cutting with a plastic bottle with the bottom cut off and the cap removed. Keep in shade as the sun will turn your mini-greenhouse into an oven and cook your cuttings. Water from the bottom regularly, without letting the soil get soggy. Watch for roots coming out of the bottom of the pot. This will take several weeks or months depending on which species of plant you are rooting. When roots start to appear, remove the bottle. Let grow a week or so without disturbing to allow it to adjust to it’s move out of the greenhouse. Water requirements are greater when the bottle is removed. Humidity is high in the bottle and removing the bottle may cause a little wilt for a few days as the plant adjusts.

    Remember not all plants will root from cuttings. Again, experimentation is a great teacher. Feel free to phone or write and ask for advice or information..

    ONCE your plant has rooted and grown too large for the pot you can use a different (less expensive) media for the larger pot. Check around to find where nurseries in your area buy thier nursery soil. We use the more expensive media up to a 6" pot size, then a nursery soil (NOT the cheap stuff at the stores in bags) for 1 gallon and larger. We have large dumptrucks deliver several times a year to our nursery. You will probably want to take a pickup and purchase just a yard at one time.

    Propagation From Root Cuttings

    To start new plants from root cuttings, dig up some of the roots of the plant you want to multiply. Plant the roots as if they were seed or bulbs. Water the soil and patiently wait. Don’t let the media completely dry out, but don’t saturate it and rot the root. New plants will emerge from the roots.


    Edith Smith

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  • #26344


    Good on you posting this Jacqui…its great.

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