Recently I told you about a propagation project my seven-year-old granddaughter and I started in between her online classes. We gathered seeds from my gardens as well as the kitchen, then tried to sprout them in a mini greenhouse. A month later and we have success. Well, some success.
Successes in Propagation Project
Our melons were the quickest out of the gate, and are looking the best so far…
Others, like hibiscus, red peppers, and lemons are a bit slower, just starting to show signs of growth…
Roots from cuttings
For another project, we tried placing leaf cuttings in water so they would form roots. I had read that coleus are particularly fond of this treatment, so I took several cuttings of the numerous coleus I planted in gardens this past summer. They were so gorgeous I just had to give propagating them a try. We are also trying to root some begonias that looked spectacular next to the coleus in containers I planted at our local hospice…
Bingo, the coleus rooted up well, in less than one week! The thicker, fleshier begonia stems are still a work in progress. Eight rooted coleus stems have now been promoted to pots with soil:
Succulents are my favourite perennials as they tolerate hot sun and require little to no maintenance. Hen and chicks (sempervivum) are especially easy to propagate, simply by removing the ‘chicks’ from their ‘mother’ and inserting them into the soil in a new location right in the garden.
This off-season of my gardening business, I decided to try my hand at propagating some succulents inside the house. So far, so good. All I did to encourage propagation was tuck a few leaves from various types of succulents into houseplants around the house. Especially the ones in a sunny location. I also tried placing a few leaves in a small, shallow, clear container into which I added a tiny bit of water. (second picture) The container sits on a north-facing window sill.
The leaves withered up, but tiny new plants emerged at the base of the leaf in each propagation attempt. Just be sure to keep the soil moist around the leaves inserted in soil as well as a tiny bit (just enough to keep emerging roots wet) of water in the bottom of the container.
When many of our seeds showed no growth at all, I investigated further. Rural Sprout told me some seeds just don’t germinate well straight from the garden or kitchen. We will keep trying though.
We learned to water the seeds from below (inside the tray the pots sit on) instead of from above. This prevents the formation of mold on the soil surface. It also prevents the stems from rotting once they start emerging from the soil.
With the cuttings, we learned to remove all but one leaf from the stem and keep that leaf out of the water. You learn this from the foul smell that the water quickly emits if any leaves touch (rot in) the water. I knew this from fresh-cut flowers in vases, just forgot to apply the knowledge to this project. To prevent the leaves from touching the water you can use plastic wrap over the jar of water with holes poked in for the stems. I have a perfect solution in a glass vase spacer, basically a glass disc with holes in it that fits on the top of a vase. In this case, it sits on a cup full of water…
I have a kitchenette in my basement with lots of counter space, a sink, and a nearby window to provide natural light, providing a perfect setup for these botany projects. Next season I think I will invest in heating mats and grow lights to help these babies along.
Come spring we should have lots of plants for our gardens and containers. Any ideas of other seeds we can try? We’ve got lots of time!