Fall is a great time of year to think about propagating plants. If you do it early enough many plants in a zone 6+ garden will have a chance to get established. Zones 4-5 are pushing it to propagate in September, but some super hardy plants, like sedum, might make it. Even if you are in colder zones though, propagating indoors in pots makes a lot of sense for saving money in the garden. Join us today as we talk about three super easy ways to propagate new plants -- so easy a kid can understand the concept fully and completely.
Forget collecting seed, forget grafting stem to rootstock, forget finicky cuttings. These are three methods that work for a bunch of hardy plants to help multiply your stock without paying a cent! OK, here we go. Buckle your seat belt, here is #1!
#1 Dividing Plants At The Roots
The first plant going to show you is a lambs ear. These are super hardy, even growing as a weed in some gardens. Therefore, there is no need to dig up lambs ear to divide them. The roots grow close to the surface, so if you put your hand at the very bottom of the stem near the ground and give a slow, steady pull, the whole plant, roots and all will pull out.
If there is no budge at first, add a little water to the plant, or simply divide after a rain!
If the plant pulls up without a root, no biggie...it is just lambs ear.
Throw the plant in the compost and try again.
Simply replant your lambs ear where you want it and you have the most easy propagation ever.
#2 Layering Branches Underground
Layering is simply taking a new (less than a year old) and flexible stem that is growing near the ground, and simply securing it to the ground so that it will grow new roots. If the stem is not young enough, it will break and will not grow roots easily.
So once you bend the stem onto the soil, cover the middle of the stem with a little soil.
You have to weight the stem down a bit so it stays under the soil, so use a flat rock or heavy brick on top.
You also must make sure a few leaves are showing on the other side of the rock. It is ok if they touch the ground,
but you want them to have access to light so that your layered stem "takes" more easily.
It is essential that the entire stem is surrounded by soil and weighted down because that is where all of the roots will be forming. If the stem is exposed to air, it won't work without a lot more babying and care. No peeking either. Leave the stem and rock alone all winter long and through the early spring. You should check for the first time around May or June. If there are little white roots all over the stem, then you simply cut the stem close to the mother plant and replant the stem with the root section completely underground.
#3 Easy Plant Cuttings
You've heard me talk about sedums before. I love them because you can propagate them just by thinking about them. Not really, but it is almost as simple. All you have to do is simply snap off a section of plant. Typically, I would tell you to get a young plant that snaps easily when bent, but with sedum it truly does not matter. I have never had a sedum cutting fail. Just break off a piece of stem and you are good to go!
After you break off a stem, you do not need to put it in sterile soil. you do not need to use rooting hormone. Simply shove that stem into the ground wherever you want a new plant with nice rounded habit, and you are good to go. Don't mess with it and next spring, you might have your very own river of sedum.