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(Not) taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut

Posted by flora_uk SW UK 8/9 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 22, 08 at 17:50

I just though that it would be useful to many people starting out on propagating their plants to point our that a lot of shrubs and other plants can be propagated very easily without recourse to any fancy equipment and without a lot of fuss and hassle. Several of the plants I have seen mentioned on these threads eg buddleja, roses, hibiscus,lilac, weigela, dogwood and many other shrubsa can be proagated by simply sticking some twigs into the ground and leaving them for a few months. A lot of hardy shrubs can be increased this way. Others can be grown in a pot with a plastic bag over it. Many pot plants like geraniums, plectranthus, fuchsias, coleus and cacti also need no fancy equipment - just a pot of compost and possibly a plastic bag. I buy very few plants - most come from friends or neighbours. And none have required much effort. I have jasmine from a holiday in France, honeysuckle from my brother's garden, roses from parents, friends and trips away, datura from MIL, house plants from friends and work. Other plants come from a single specimen I bought long ago. What I am trying to say is that a lot of things are much easier to propagate than you may think. If in doubt give it a go and above all, be patient.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: (Not) taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut

Yes, but what you fell to realize is it is hot as hades here in the US and plants DO NOT propagate here that easy because of the dry heat and humidity we have.
I don't know how the weather is there for you, but it is a major factor for us. We need something to help keep moisture on our cuttings whether it be baggies, water, gel or just plain medium.
Because as you know dryness is a killer to cuttings, also, for me I am absent minded and can not always remember that I need to water my stickings, and the neat little propagation chamber I seen of here will do just the trick for me. Nothing fancy, just a very useful tool for those of has who have many other chores to do then remember we have cuttings stuck somewhere that need attention.
No, I am not saying that is what you do, I am just saying that some of us forget, and it is simpler to have something handy to use.
Some of those plants you have listed I have never been able to root even with devoted attention to them, it just is not that easy here in the south, for me and many others from the southern US. As a matter of fact, NONE of the ones you have listed have ever rooted for me. I placed them in a plastic bag with moist peat and checked on them and misted when needed. Nothing, they just turned ugly and croaked.
Your opinion is appreciated, but unless you take into account all factors you can't generalize it and say it is easy for everyone. Because in fact it isn't, there are to many things to consider.

:) But thanks anyway,

RE: (Not) taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut

flora, I agree with you totally. None of the plants you've listed are especially difficult to root, and many of them are exceptionally easy. Without a doubt, I believe that successful propagation not only takes some skill and knowledge, but also that difficult-to-describe 'knack'. I suspect that it's something that one is born with or acquired very early at some one's knee.

Those without that innate 'knack' are only at a slight disadvantage, though, because (most of) the skills can readily be learned. The results are so rewarding, aren't they?

If someone fails consistently to root different kinds of plants, he/she needs to figure out what they are doing wrong and do something different. There are many, many ways of obtaining terrific results and most of them are wonderfully simple and inexpensive.

RE: (Not) taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut

rhizo you are correct in your statement that "if someone fails consistently to root different kinds of plants, he/she needs to figure out what they are doing wrong and do something different."
However, the problem is, most of us who have problems are not exactly sure what we did that went wrong in the 1st place. If we knew we could have corrected it and had great results too.
The only plant I can root without much trouble that isn't an annual is a Meadow Sage called "May Night Salvia".
I have had other things to root only to fell at some point after they started making roots.
Like tree stickings for example, I did some of various trees, they started rooting and I thought I had been successful in my project only to have them start dying at the tips and slowly continue down until they withered away.
I have had other failed attempts as well, I am not saying I haven't done it seccessfully either because I have. But when it went wrong I do not know why. I have used different methods all with different results. BUT I want consistant results and if I had something to help me, it would be a plus.
It would be nice if someone could just teach me how to do it with good consistant results, but as far as I know no one does it. And if they do, it sure isn't available here.

:) Thanks again,

RE: (Not) taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut

NCGG - I did not intend to imply that I knew better than anyone else about propagating plants. I was not meaning to boast, just to encourage beginners by saying that it is not necessarily as difficult as it might seem from some posts. If you want consistent results, of course you will need to take some care. However, we are dealing with nature here and there will always be some randomness to our successes and failures.

As to your difficulties with some of the plants I have listed, I wonder if the plastic bag and peat method you are using is militating against success. Do you put the cutting itself in a bag or do you mean you put a bag over the pot? If the atmosphere inside the bag is too moist and warm you will get rotting, especially if there is a lot of foliage and some of it is touching the soil. Geraniums are particularly prone to this. Have you tried putting your cuttings in the ground in Autumn and then leaving them out over the winter? I think you might be surprised at what happens. Also it is best to take a lot of cuttings as some will inevitably fail.

I still maintain that some of the plants people are struggling with are probably not successful because they are trying too hard and over heating or watering their babies.

Finally, I do realise that the weather in the US can be very hot. But there is a great variety of climates so I am sure lots of your compatriots would have success with simple methods. Rhizo seems to be one and s/he is in Alabama - pretty hot I believe.

RE: (Not) taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut

Mother Nature is not always in a cooperative mood. The purpose of using ant kind of chamber from greenhouses to plastic bags is to emulate the optimum conditions for propagating.


Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

RE: (Not) taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut

i use the baggie method, but its kinda weird, i get my soil damp, not overly damp, (sometimes this is hard for me to do, so i poke a hole in the bag LOL) then i put holes in the soil where i'm putting my clippings, then i dip my clippings in horomone, then i put them in, mist them with water, zip bag 3/4 of the way, this is key!!!! blow your air in till full, then zip the rest of the way, hang up, not in full sun. just a bright window. in a few weeks you could/should have roots. :')
i've rooted the ivy of my moms i have wanted and tried for years!!! LOL and then i knew i had the one thing that works for me!! LOL
some people use the crate thingi, hey, if it works by all means do it!! and one guy uses that and does it in the winter for roses, i'm trying that. (this winter LOL) ya just can't forget to mist, and don't get the soil to wet.
also, the soil you use is a huge factor IMO!! ~Medo

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