Friday, January 22, 2010

Rooting Ageratum...

Somewhere I read about a woman who would over-winter ageratum and make cuttings to root for bedding plants the next spring. That sounded like a very cool idea, so I thought I would try it. Last fall, before things froze, I dug up some of my ageratum plants and plopped them into, because I was in a hurry, a large metal mixing bowl. It was very charming to have the blue flowers and bright green leaves in this bowl. One day I actually needed the bowl, so I transferred the six plants into two plastic jugs cut down with a drainage hole added. They have been living in these make-shift homes for several months now.

Today I felt the need to start the cuttings. And I did something I have never done before. I used a razor blade to make the cuttings, like I was supposed to. I have always before used scissors or my pruners, which aren’t overly sharp, to make cuttings. The idea behind using a new razor blade is that it slices without crushing cells. If the cells are crushed, it can lead to the plant rotting from the damage rather than having an opportunity to grow roots.

Some of the stems had started making tiny flower buds, so I had to trim them off, along with the extra leaves, so the cuttings would put their energy into producing roots rather than blooms.

As I cut them, I put the little guys into perlite and water. There are 50 in this tray, so if I have a fairly high success rate, I should be able to satisfy my desire, maybe, for plenty of ageratum bedding plants without having to buy them at the nursery, leaving funds for other new and different plants. Good plan, huh? I stuck straws cut in half in about every other cell and covered the whole thing with a couple of sheets of plastic wrap to make its own little greenhouse. Ageratum roots fairly easily, but I thought I would help it out all I could. And now, to wait for spring and all those delightful blue flowers.

Have a beautiful day!

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