I call it primitive propagation when I use no special facilities such as propagating cases and frames to root cuttings. I use no special made-up compost, rooting hormone or sprays. Nor do I prepare cuttings in the conventional way, I rarely remove lower leaves. All I need is pots, multipurpose compost, felco secateurs and space on my unheated greenhouse floor.
Unprepared cuttings. It will be best to remove flowers
The best time to propagate ‘bedding geraniums’ is late August. They have time to make sturdy plants before winter. In practice I wait until after my early September open-day. This does have the advantage that by then, there is no need to use polythene to reduce transpiration of the rootless cuttings.
Cuttings inserted and well watered in.
On this occasion I did remove lower leaves. It won’t improve rooting but old leaves will eventually die. It’s quicker and healthier to remove them now. I deeply insert the cuttings into multi-purpose compost and very thoroughly water them in. It is essential for the rootless cuttings to make capillary contact with the surrounding compost. To make sure, I water them twice. They will not be watered again for another two weeks. For the record, now in mid November, they have been watered four times. Now it is important to let them get quite dry.
|After ten weeks 95% of them have rooted
And why all this bother when I can buy plants cheaply in spring.
- There is immense satisfaction in propagating your own plants.
- I can maintain stock of my favourite plants.
- With some dodgy accounting I can persuade myself it’s economic.
- Every time you buy new plants there is danger of bringing in pests such as whitefly and red spider mite. Together with brown scale and mealy bug, these are completely banned from my garden and if they come in on new plants, my ruthless method of control is to bin them!
|I love to inspect the lovely new white roots
Now that it’s mid November penetrating frost threatens. I over-winter rooted cuttings on a south-facing bedroom windowsill, but that’s another story. I now need to work up sufficient courage to tell Brenda that they need to come in.
Now somewhat scruffy the original bedding remains outside. With luck it will survive until Christmas.