Next Years Plants Now
In every gardener’s year there eventually comes the transition from outdoor gardening to the more relaxed winter of indoor gardening. There are a few transitional activities that can make the indoor season more colourful.
Some gardening activities we should undertake in early September, to make our lives more pleasant through the winter. Those amazing containers of Geraniums and Impatiens we have grown all summer, can supply us with a bit of gardening and some indoor colour all winter. If we take cuttings from them early while they are growing strongly then we will be more successful. In October those plants will have slowed down their growth, the days will be shorter and cooler and rooting them will be more difficult.
If we successfully root some cuttings now then we should be able to take some more, from them, in late winter and then not have to go out and spend a small fortune on new container plants for spring. I’m not sure, that if we factor in the heat, time and a little supplementary light, that we actually save any money but it feels good.
How Do I Do It?
Taking these cuttings is really quite easy and idiot proof. Geraniums and Impatiens are certainly the easiest but go ahead and try any of your other flowers. You’ve nothing to lose except a few minutes of time. Select a healthy stem with the leaves relatively close together and then, (using a sharp knife, pruners can crush the stems,) cutting just above a leaf, remove a piece of stem that is 2” – 3”, long. Remove the bottom leaves and all of the flowers or buds. If it’s trying to produce flowers it cannot produce roots. You should now have a cutting that has 2 or 3 smaller leaves at the top and an inch or more of bare stem.
Where Do I Do This?
This cutting will only produce roots at the nodes. That’s the 25¢ horticultural term for the bump in the stem where the leaf grows from. Make a final cut just below a node. You can increase your success by using some rooting hormone. Found at any garden centre. Then stick several cuttings in a pot of artificial soil mix. Keep this pot quite moist and in good light, avoiding direct sunlight. You can put the pot full of cuttings into a large inflated plastic bag. This keeps the humidity level much higher and stops the cuttings from wilting. In a few, (2 - 4,) weeks the plants will have developed roots and you can separate them and give each a pot of its own.
Keep the newly potted plants under your lights or on a bright windowsill and they will provide some colourful flowers throughout the winter and be ready to fill up your outdoor containers in the spring.
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