Gardening Guru: Making Plants From Plants

When we first became gardeners, we rushed out in spring to plant a few seeds in the ground and transplant our six packs of annuals for some spots of color. As we became more knowledgeable, we ventured out more often to plant perennials, shrubs and vines. Our pocket books became lean from the expense of buying plants and so we began to explore how we could save money and still have a beautiful garden. One inexpensive way to obtain new flowers is by propagating them from existing plant materials.

Fall is the best time to plant a variety of seeds that will show up as flowers in your garden in spring time. One of the easiest methods of propagation is cutting plant stems and placing them in water for a few weeks until the stem forms new roots. I use canning jars or beautiful vases to showcase them in my kitchen window during the process. At the garden we have a large purple Mexican Petunia that will root in just a few days in water and be ready to plant in your garden in 6-8 weeks. You can take cuttings home in a bag of water and make your own window display. Other plants to root in water are flowering maple or abutilon, jasmine and many house plants.

If you’ve read the latest edition of Sunset magazine you will see that succulents are very popular again. We have Master Gardeners who are fast becoming experts on succulents and they will show you how to take cuttings from a plant, “harden off” or callus the stems and then replant them. You will see beautiful samples of a variety of succulents, learn few names, and even get to take some home.

Iris need to be divided every 3-4 years to keep producing large beautiful blooms and we have white and purple iris ready to be split and replanted this year. Master Gardeners will show you the process of division – from digging up the clump to replanting them properly with the top of the rhizome just slightly above the ground so it can absorb sunlight. There is also some California native Douglas Iris that need a new home. These iris take some shade and are lovely in a woodland garden.Salvia, plumbago, lavender, and buckwheat are easy to propagate from soft wood cuttings.

– To contact the Tulare/Kings Master Gardener Program, phone 684-3325, email [email protected], or write to 4437 S. Laspina St., Suite B, Tulare, CA 93274.

– This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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