The Wednesday Dig: Progagation or How to Get Free Plants

Propagation or How to Get Free Plants! from The Wanderer Guides Blog. #gardening #gardenideas

Propagating is a thrifty gardener’s best friend–it’s a way to breed more plants from already established mainstreams or even from kitchen scraps from your very own garden.

Let’s define propagation:

Propagation: the process of growing new plants from already established plants.

Now how do we do that?

  1. Select a branch that is at least four inches long and has some leaves. In general, the best kind of branch is a new growth branch (aka a green branch that has just grown for this season).
  2. Cut the branch at a 45* angle so the tip looks like a small spear.
  3. If the plant you are propagating has flowers you must snip those guys off so the plant can devote its energy to root production.
  4. If your plant has many large leaves consider limiting them, either cut them off or cut them in half; plants lose a lot of moisture through their leaves.
  5. This is optional: if you’re new to propagating, I highly recommend it.  Get some rooting hormone (we use Rootone Powder) and dip the cut end of your cutting in it.
  6. Stick the cutting in a sterile mix of one part vermiculite (little white pebbles in most potting soil) and one part peat moss (aka regular not nutrient-filled soil) and keep moist. You want the soil to always be wet so water accordingly. If you aren’t going to be around to spray your cuttings regularly with water, consider covering them with a plastic cover. We find that plastic milk jugs or water bottles with the bottoms cut out works rather nicely.

These rules do not apply to succulents–we’ll go into that topic next week. But for this week here is a list of plants that can easily be rooted:

Abelia Abelia spp.
Arborvitae, American Thuja occidentalis
Arborvitae, Oriental Platycladus orientalis
Azalea (evergreen & semi-evergreen) Rhododendron spp.
Barberry, Mentor Berberis mentorensis
Barberry, Japanese Berberis thunbergii
Barberry, Wintergreen Berberis julianae
Boxwood, Littleleaf Buxus microphylla
Boxwood, Common Buxus sempervirens
Camellia Camellia spp.
Ceanothus Ceanothus spp.
Cedar Cedrus spp.
Chamaecyparis; False Cypress Chamaecyparis spp.
Cotoneaster Cotoneaster spp.
Cryptomeria, Japanese Cryptomeria japonica
Daphne Daphne spp.
Eleagnus, Thorny Elaeagnus pungens
English ivy Hedera helix
Euonymus Euonymus spp.
Fir Abies spp.
Gardenia; Cape jasmine Gardenia jasminoides
Heath Erica spp.
Hemlock Tsuga spp.
Holly, Chinese Ilex cornuta
Holly, Foster’s Ilex x attenuata ‘Fosteri’
Holly, American Ilex opaca
Holly, Yaupon Ilex vomitoria
Holly, English Ilex aquifolium
Holly, Japanese Ilex crenata
Jasmine Jasminum spp.
Juniper, Creeping Juniperus horizontalis
Juniper, Chinese Juniperus chinensis
Juniper, Shore Juniperus conferta
Leyland cypress x Cupressocyparis leylandii
Magnolia Mahonia spp.
Oleander Nerium oleander
Osmanthus, Holly Osmanthus heterophyllus
Photinia Photinia spp.
Pine, Mugo Pinus mugo
Pine, Eastern white Pinus strobus
Pittosporum Pittosporum spp.
Podocarpus Podocarpus spp.
Privet Ligustrunum spp.
Pyracantha; Firethorn Pyracantha spp.
Rhododendron Rhododendron spp.
Spruce Picea spp.
Viburnum Viburnum spp.
Yew Taxus spp.
Azalea (deciduous) Rhododendron spp.
Basswood; American linden Tilia americana
Birch Betula spp.
Bittersweet Celastrus spp.
Blueberry Vaccinium spp.
Broom Cytisus spp.
Callery pear Pyrus calleryana
Catalpa Catalpa spp.
Clematis Clematis spp.
Crabapple Malus spp.
Crape myrtle Lagerstroemia indica
Cherry, Flowering Prunus spp.
Dawn redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Deutzia Deutzia spp.
Dogwood Cornus spp.
Elderberry Sambucus spp.
Elm Ulmus spp.
Euonymus Euonymus spp.
Forsythia Forsythia spp.
Fringe tree Chioanthus spp.
Ginkgo, Maidenhair tree Ginkgo biloba
Goldenrain tree Koelreuteria spp.
Hibiscus, Chinese Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Honey locust Gleditsia triacanthos
Honeysuckle Lonicera spp.
Hydrangea Hydrangea spp.
Ivy, Boston Parthenocissus tricuspidata
Larch Larix spp.
Lilac Syringa spp.
Maple Acer spp.
Mock orange Philadelphus spp.
Mulberry Morus spp.
Poplar, Aspen; Cottonwood Populus spp.
Poplar, Yellow; Tulip tree; Tulip poplar Liriodendron tulipifera
Quince, Flowering Chaenomeles spp.
Redbud Cercis spp.
Rose of Sharon; Shrub-althea HIbiscus syriacus
Rose Rosa spp.
Russian olive Elaeagnus angustifolia
Serviceberry Amelanchier spp.
Smoke tree Cotinus coggygria
Spirea Spiraea spp.
St. Johnswort Hypericum spp.
Sumac Rhus spp.
Sweet gum Liquidambar styraciflua
Trumpet creeper Campsis spp.
Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Weigela Weigela spp.
Willow Salix spp.
Wisteria Wisteria spp.

Now you are well on the way to creating the garden you want for free. Make sure you ask before you take a cutting or wear your running shoes so you can get away from the plant’s owner.