Propagating Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy'

>> Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Caryopteris is an easy plant to propagate and well worth making more of whether you are a beginning propagator or an experienced one. The fall blooming blue flowers attract pollinators of all kinds and provide a valuable burst of color when the summer heat has blasted away most other plantings. It's deer resistant and drought tolerant with very little maintenance need. That's the best kind of plant isn't it?

Here's how to propagate more Caryopteris for your home garden:

1) Prepare your media (I used straight sand mostly because it drains well and is cheap.)
2) Take cuttings with a clean, sharp pair of pruners or scissors. Look for greenwood cuttings (current year's growth) with about two nodes. Caryopteris will root internodally and sometimes I take cuttings with two leaves at the top node with no second node.
3) Strip all the leaves except for 1 to 2 at the top of the cutting.
4) Coat the base of the cutting stem with rooting hormone.
5) Stick the cutting in the rooting media.
6) Water gently and keep the container moist but not soggy. A misting system could be used but I generally just monitor the cuttings and add water when needed.

In a week to ten days you should see roots beginning to form. Give the cutting a gentle tug and if there is resistance odds are that you have roots - or at least your cutting does. Lift the cutting gently with a fork and plant it in a pot with soil to let it grow large enough to plant into the garden. You could try rooting directly into a pot of soil which saves you a step but I prefer to root them in sand then pot the cuttings so that I know if the cuttings have rooted or not. This works for Caryopteris clondonensis cultivars like 'Longwood Blue as well.

Have you tried rooting caryopteris?


Perennials I like to Propagate in Spring

>> Friday, February 25, 2011

'Homestead Purple' Verbena
I've been thinking lately about all the spring plants that will soon be rising from their beds. More specifically I've been thinking about which one's I'll be propagating during the spring season. Most perennials send up new growth from the soil that is perfect for stem tip cuttings and many other plants will be primed and ready for a little division. Here's a short list of perennial plants that I'll be propagating this spring.

Perennials for Spring Propagation

  • Salvias - stem tip cuttings
  • Coneflower (Echinacea) - basal stem cuttings, division
  • Russian sage - mid spring stem tip cuttings and late spring stem cuttings.
  • Chysanthemums ('Clara Curtis', 'Sheffield Pink', and others) - stem-tip cuttings (also in summer)
  • Agastache - stem tip cuttings
  • Daisies ('Montauk' and 'Shasta') - Stem tip
  • Hostas - division
  • Heucheras - division
  • Verbena - stem tip cuttings, stem cuttings (late spring through summer)
  • Penstemon -stem tip cuttings, stem cuttings
  • Tall Garden Phlox - stem tip cuttings, division
  • Catmint and Catnip - stem tip cuttings
  • Lamb's Ear - division
I've probably left out more than a few perennial plants from my garden for spring propagation. The list of potential plant choices for spring propagation is enormous. In my experience most perennials are best propagated in the spring when they are energized with new growth. If you are in doubt about propagating a plant give it a try and experiment - it's a great way to learn!


Catmint (Nepeta) Propagation

>> Saturday, January 15, 2011

Catmint is one of my favorite perennials in the garden. It's extremely easy to take care of, looks great, and attracts a significant number of pollinators. When the leaves are crushed the plant emits a strong minty flavor that makes it nearly impossible to walk by without pulling a leaf or two to smell! It is very similar to catnip but with a stronger minty scent.  

How to Propagate:
Cuttings: stem tip

Best Times to Propagate Catmint:
Spring through Summer

How to make cuttings of catmint.

  • Take 3-4 inch long cuttings.
  • Remove all the leaves except for two to four at the top of the cutting.  
  • Pinch the tip to encourage branching.
  • Dip the end in rooting hormone and place it in a rooting medium. Rooting hormone isn't necessary but will speed rooting.
  • Keep the cuttings moist and monitor the cutting for a week to two weeks. I've found some catmint cuttings will root in as little as 5 days under the right conditions. 

 Every time a stem tip cut is made it will result in branching which encourages a bushier plant and gives you more material for future cuttings!


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