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Starting From Cuttings

Cloning your green friends

Cows, sheep . . . coleus? While it's cutting edge in the animal world, cloning (or taking cuttings) has been the staple of plant propagation since man first began putting peat in pots. Taking cuttings has a couple of clear advantages over starting plants from seeds. For one, the plant you wind up with is genetically identical to the "Mother" you snip it from. It's also much faster than waiting for a seed to sprout and mature.

And simple? Let me tell you:

1) Cut: Using a new sharp blade, cut a 3"-6" segment at a 45-60 degree angle just below a leaf internode (where a leaf meets the stem). Cut away all blooms, and trim excess leaves. Take several cuttings to insure success.

2) Dip: Dip the cutting immediately into a rooting hormone (available at most garden centers). If for some reason you can't, then store it in a glass of water until you can. Cuttings should not be allowed to dry out!

3) Plant: Plant the cutting in a sterile growing medium, mist, and place under a clear dome of some sort. The dome should be ventilated, the light indirect, and the cutting misted several times a day. Don't over-water, or you'll experience rot. When the cutting can stand on its own outside the dome for several hours without wilting, voila!