Propagation, The Need to Make More

That is where my head goes when I start propagating plants. I walk around the garden and start thinking about next year. I take notice of plants that I liked, that did well, and that can be propagated in some way. Fall brings out the survivalist in me, and I think it’s natural to feel this way. All the plants are setting seed, some plants, that desperately need dividing, are forming the ever noticeable “doughnut” and moving on on their own. So, my walks in the garden are a little bit about observation and making more by clippings, seeds, and divisions.

Right now, I’m excited about propagating the papyrus I have growing by the dog fountain. I noticed that the blooms that had fallen into the water were starting to take root. I remembered this plant slowly expanding in the rainforest, but I never realized that it was the firecracker heads getting mature, flopping over, and taking root. It is much easier to see this in my current, somewhat controlled garden. As I was deadheading to clean up, is how I noticed the roots forming on one end of the bloom and very stem-like structures forming opposite. I potted them up and am letting them get adjusted.

Another plant that I am hoping to propagate is begonia. I’m trying one method with a bit of skepticism. It is where you slice into a leaf, pin the leaf down, and wait for babies to form from the veins. It seems magical, and I hope it works.

Good old division is the tried and true propagation method to get new plants the exact make up as the parent. Take an overgrown plant and divide the root into nice sized portions with a good amount of healthy root and eyes for stems. My iris are in desperate need of division, and I will likely take up this task this week to get things settled into the ground before a hard freeze.

I took a few tubers of red daylily from a garden I work on in hopes to fill in some open spots in my own garden. I prefer to plant small. I think this helps things establish better. You aren’t digging much, thus not disturbing the soil much. Roots can make a home at their own pace as they adjust to the new soil.

With cold approaching, I will have to set up some grow stations in the basement soon. The threat of frost looms this weekend, and garden life will start to get very busy as I try to dig up tubers and rhizomes of non-hardy plants I want to store over the winter.

My advice for fall: Get into survival mode, go propagate some plants!

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