A good gardening tip is that you can make more plants from your existing house and garden plants. This will cut out the expense of buying new house and garden plants. Look around for healthy plants to take the stem cuttings from to plant in a peat moss mixture using rooting hormone. This is what is called the mother plant. Make sure the mother plant has enough stems so the cutting will not kill the mother plant.
If you start your house and garden plants from stem cuttings instead of seeds it will take half the time to root. There a just a few things you will need : a mother plant, a flat for potting with a peat moss mixture, a sharp knife or razor blade, rooting hormone, containers for holding water and rooting hormone, alcohol, pencil or a stick, and a plastic bag.
Common sense tells you that you should take a stem cutting from the plant’s thickest green non flowering stems. The spot where the leaf attaches to the stem, known as the node, are the best place for you to take the stem cutting. The plants growth rooting hormones are concentrated there. Choose green, non-woody stems for taking the stem cuttings from the mother plant. Newer growth is easier to root than woody stems.
Cut with a sterilized instrument, either a very sharp knife or a razor blade, just below the node and then make another slanted cut about two or three inches further up the plant. This should provide you a stem cutting about three inches in length with two or three nodes. Trim off the side shoots and remove most of the leaves leaving a few since the stem cutting will need the leaves to provide food. Any large leaves must be removed as their wilting stresses the stem cutting and will definitely slow down the rooting process.
With your sterilized instrument make a clean cut in the bottom node. The roots will be formed from the sliced node.
Fill a clean plant pot or container with a peat moss potting mix to hold your stem cuttings for rooting. By using a peat moss potting mix you are giving the plant an atmosphere where the cutting will stay moist, not wet and sloppy.
You can make your own peat moss mixture; here are a couple of recipes:
½ sand and ½ peat moss or
½ perlite and ½ peat moss or
½ sand and ½ vermiculite or
½ perlite and ½ vermiculite or
Equal parts sand, perlite, vermiculite or peat moss instead of vermiculite.
Start by dipping the bottom inch of the stem cutting into the water and then the rooting hormone. This will help to speed up the creation of roots. The rooting hormone stimulates the stem cutting to send out new roots from the node. You will need to dip the cutting into the water and then into the rooting hormone. Tap off the excess as to not jeopardize your success with this stem cutting. If, after you have finished with your stem cuttings you have some of the rooting hormone left, throw it away. Once a stem cutting has touched it the rooting hormone becomes activated.
Moisten the peat moss potting mixture and poke holes in it to accommodate your plants. By making holes in the peat moss rooting medium with the pencil or the stick it will ensure that the rooting hormone remains on the cutting, not on the potting mixture surface. This will improve chances of rooting the stem cuttings and creating new house or garden plants. After you have successfully placed the stem cutting in the medium, gently press the potting mixture around it. You should plant your cuttings about 4-5 inches apart to allow for air circulation and room to root.
Place the container into a plastic bag and put it in a warm spot in the house. The reason for the bag is to keep the stem cuttings in high humidity and to hold in heat. You are creating a mini Greenhouse that takes up very little space. Don’t seal the bag as you need to allow for air circulation. Only after you see new growth should the cuttings be placed in a sunny area. Keep checking you stem cuttings. If the bag shows condensation you are likely giving it too much moisture. Take off the bag and let it dry out a little.
The way to test for new root growth is to gently pull on the plant after a few weeks. If there is resistance the plants are ready to be transferred into individual pots. Now you will have a new plant that you have cultivated from the mother plant.
Now use all these gardening tips and grow some new plants using stem cuttings.
Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round.
Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.