I'm Cuckoo for Cuttings!

Sure it's almost seed starting time here, and my growing table in the basement is going to be packed with seed flats soon, but there's other stuff going on too.


Mainly propagation by cuttings. I take cuttings both to get more plants, but also to overwinter non-hardy plants in an efficient way. Let's take a look at what I've got going on...


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I'm doing a few things differently this year. Usually I take cuttings before the first killing frost or freeze (depending on the plant), and overwinter just the cuttings. This year the Plectranthus 'Cerveza n lime' (above) got to overwinter under lights for a few months first.

Instead of just putting these cuttings into moist potting soil (2 years ago) or in a glass of water (last year) I decided to try something different. I took a small storage tub:


Dumped in some expanded clay pellets (the kind used for hydroponic growing):

These are not Cocoa Puffs

Then stuck the cuttings in and added some water:


My thinking with this is that the roots will not get all tangled together as they do when I jam a dozen cuttings into a glass of water. Plus each cutting gets more light.

We'll see if it's better than a glass of water. It certainly takes up a bit more of the valuable table space. Will it be worth it?

The Tradescantia cuttings are similar: I usually just take cuttings and let the plant die in the cold. This year I brought an entire hanging basket into the garage, so I could delay cutting time.


These were the first cuttings that I put into the clay pellets, since they have very curvy stems that don't work well in a glass of water. The Plectranthus may not need to grow this way (in the pellets), but these do.

For the first time I took rosemary and lavender cuttings:

Under a humidity-preserving cover.

I don't know if these will root, as the middle of winter is not exactly the best time to take cuttings here, but it's worth a try. If I wait until spring I'll be tempted to buy more of these, so I'd rather give it a go now and save some money (or spend it on plants I don't already have).

My neighbor inspired me to try the rosemary cuttings, as he took some too. We'll compare results and see if either of our techniques worked better. (It's not a competition.)


With all of the Plectranthus, rosemary, and lavender leaves left after stripping the lower parts of these stems, I had probably the most fragrant handful of garden scraps possible. Yum!

I also inadvertently took a cutting of my "firesticks":


Remember that it was quite large when I repotted it, and I've brushed up against it so many times in the garage I've broken a piece off. It quickly rooted, which surprised me a little -- other cuttings I've taken from this plant were slow rooters. This one is actively growing after just a month or so.

I forgot to take photos of the two Vigna caracalla (corkscrew vine) cuttings that I saved too. One thing I'll say about this: vines are not easy to overwinter under lights, as they reach a certain size and then go crazy! I think I'll let them do that and see if I can take even more cuttings from them before the winter is over.

I love making new plants from cuttings, especially over the winter!

Do you overwinter any cuttings?

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Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy  – (February 1, 2013 at 6:07 AM)  

This is a bit of a tantalising post. One immediately wants to know what happens next. No patience!

Maywyn  – (February 1, 2013 at 6:26 AM)  

Thanks for the first laugh of the day...not cocoa puffs. LOL!

Lancashire rose  – (February 1, 2013 at 6:54 AM)  

I shall be interested to hear how this works.I'm a cutting taker too, some I just root int he ground, like rosemary and germander and roses but it has been so dry this year they have not done well.

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