Multiplying Your Plants
by Sandy Swegel
No this isn’t about how to sneak into your neighbor’s yard at night with a shovel and bucket. Although stopping by at your neighbor’s when she’s in full gardening mode can often score a few plants that she’s getting rid of. But Spring is a time when plants are vigorously growing… so they easily transplant or divide or root giving you an easy way to get more plants.
Root in Water
The easiest new plants this week were the forsythia and viburnum blooms and curly willows I cut to put in vases in the house. By the time they were finished being beautiful, little rootlets were forming at the bottom of the stems…so I’ll leave them in water another week or so and then plant them directly in the garden.
When I’m weeding out plants that are in places I don’t want them to be, but I don’t have time to save each little plant if I want to finish the cleanup, I keep a bucket of water with me and throw in stragglers that might survive till I have time to deal with them. Got some nice yarrows, perennial geraniums and veronicas this week.
Annuals like geraniums root easily in water. I’ve also gotten fuschias and the wing begonias to root easily.
I’m not saying rooting in water is the best way to propagate plants….but before I knew much about gardening, I rooted lots of plants this way and it’s fun to watch the roots grow in the kitchen window while I wash dishes.
Cut off divisions
For plants one is traditionally taught to dig up, divide and transplant, (Shasta daisies, Veronica, salvia, phlox, among many more) I’ve found great success just taking a shovel or my trusty soil knife and slicing through about a 3-inch piece on the edge. I leave the mother plant undisturbed so its growth and bloom is normal. The division transplants easily although it may bloom later. This works great with hostas and I’ve gotten dozens of baby hosta plants this way.
I was hanging out in the parking lot at the local garden center drooling over all the perfect annuals being unloaded. And such a deal. $2 or $3 for a four-pack…how can one resist? However, by the time I get to the checkout stand, all those couple-of-dollars added up to a lot of money that wasn’t in my budget. Then I remembered my first garden as an adult. We sprinkled one pack of marigold seeds. True, they didn’t look like much in early May….but come June, they were blooming and there were dozens and dozens of little marigold plants for less than the cost of that four pack. Come mid-summer the tiny field of marigolds were much prettier than that four-pack would have been. PLANT MORE SEEDS. 🙂