Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Way To Start Plants

In another post I showed how to start roses using the cane method - you can read about it here. This same method can be used on hydrangeas, azalea and many others shrubs. In this post I'm introducing RooTone, a powder that helps to give cuttings a start. RooTone can be bought most anywhere that sells plant/nursery related stuff.
It looks like this...
I've had this bottle for years and it will outlast me! :)

I'm using cuttings from a Zepherine Drouhin rose that is thornless and smells heavenly! The cutting was twenty-four inches long and had already bloomed. In the glass beside it is a hydrangea that had broken off and I decided to start one from it.
I cut off the bloom head and cut fresh ends on the stems. Then I cut the rose stem in four sections, pulling off the leaves and making sure there were at least two leaf nodes (where the leaf grows on the stem) left on each cutting.
Taking it outside in water so the ends can't dry out (important!), I prepared the soil for the cuttings (important!). The soil needs to be very loose - I chopped it up and put a shovelfull of black gold on top of that. I dipped the cutting in the! They will tell you to put some in another container to prevent disease, but I don't...too much bother!...and knocked off the extra powder, poked a hole with my snippers because it was handy (a pencil or stick could be used) in the prepared soil and stuck it in, pushing the dirt around the cutting.
When I did all the cuttings, it looks like this...
Then I placed this over it...
'This' has a story of its own. My MIL was a pro at starting plants and I learned how from her. One of her plant legacies was a rose she got from her grandmother, then starting one for me.
Now I'm not an 'orangy' person but I love the idea of the continuity of this plant. That makes this plant five generations of rose cuttings for my grandbabies a wonderful family memory. Which means it's up to me to pass it on to my children - and yes, that needs to be my next project of cuttings.
The flower is really only pretty for about eighteen hours, then opens up like this.
My MIL was a huge auction attender and found many finds among which was this...
A gi-normous glass cloche with a hole in the top.
It has started many plants and when her estate was settled it found a new home with me.

And this is how the cuttings are started - using a glass container to cover the plants. Obviously, I'm blessed in having a large antique cloche to use - however, individual glass gallon or quart jars can be used and the end results are the same. The first cutting I did I used a regular flower vase. It's important to place it in shade or the north side of a building; it needs light but not sun - it will cook the plant. It takes several weeks to root and it's best to let it alone. If the summer is dry, pour water around it but generally, the container acts like a greenhouse and will produce its own moisture. Let it there until it has a healthy growth before removing the glass container. It's best to wait till the next year to move it. The percentage rate of success is around ninety-five percent.

One needs lots of patience to start plants but it's rewarding! In this 'instantageofwhateverwewantasfastaswecan' era, it forces one to wait on a good thing!

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