Turn one plant into many by learning the basics of plant propagation.
I am a big fan of the books issued by the American Horticultural Society. They’re always well organized, well written and loaded with illustrations. Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques is a marvelous edition, and will immediately get you on your way to creating new plants from your favorite specimens.
Plant Propagation begins with an overview of how plants reproduce in their natural surroundings, a short history of propagation, types of propagation, and the basic tools and techniques. It’s then organized by types of plants so that finding the information you need is quick and effortless.
After I studied Plant Propagation for a few weeks, I put AHS’ techniques to the test. I had never created new plants via cuttings (I know, I know, stop laughing…), so I started with one of the easiest (according to the book), the Hydrangea . I have a favorite hydrangea and I thought it would be really cool to create a second one for my long-in-progress shade garden, so off I went.
Following the directions in Plant Propagation, I took a six cuttings, trimmed them and placed them in soil medium, then covered all with a sheet of plastic to keep the cuttings from drying out. I watered when needed and after four weeks, three of the cuttings had rooted. Why the others hadn’t rooted became obvious when I looked over my notes, because in my haste I had completely forgotten to dip the cuttings in rooting hormone(!). Live and learn.
Long story short, today I have a hydrangea growing in a pot on my porch which I’ll plant in my shade garden this spring. The new hydrangea cost me pennies compared to buying a new plant, so Plant Propagation has already paid for itself and will probably do so ten times over. I can’t wait to experiment with more cuttings this spring.
FTC Disclosure: book purchased for review
Buy on Amazon: American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques