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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sticking Forsythia Cuttings






I used my stealth forsythia to brighten up the kitchen in a vase for a while, the flowers have faded finally and I decided to cut up the branches and make cuttings from them this morning. I know I didn't do this all properly--it is best to take forsythia cuttings in June after the blooming--but I have a hunch that they will root anyhow--for the most part-- because forsythia is one of those easy rooters. My big stainless bowl, a wonderful find from a thrift store years ago, is always a great place for mixing stuff. I used it today to mix perlite with vermiculite for a good soiless rooting medium. I made my mix about 1/2 each. I got the perlite and vermiculite at home depot. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't find a place in Charlotte to purchase the huge bags of vermiculite I used to get at Steins garden center in Wisconsin. I'm not saying it can't be done--if anyone from Charlotte does know where to get those--let me know please! Anyhow I got smallish bags and that will do. When you can't be perfectly frugal--be 'semi-frugal'. ;)

I cut my forsythia in about 6 inch or so peices and tried to be sure I didn't turn any of them upside down. The little sprigs of leaf are generally on top, though I did try a few that haven't got leaves. I filled recycled cottage cheese containers with my perlite/vermiculte mixture and watered it so it will be moist-- I don't have any drainage holes in the containers as I want it to just stay moist on its own. I gathered up my little collection of cuttings and dipped their bottom ends into a little bit of rooting hormone powder, then I stuck them into my cottage cheese containers. The perlite/vermiculite mixture holds cuttings very nicely and is stiff so it gives them a bit of support. I used recyled big rubber bands from broccoli to hold large zip style bags on the tops of the containers. I like the way these work, I get my bags at Aldi usually, or I get real namebrand ziplocks with coupons sometimes. The Bags are stiff-ish, so they stand up well and don't lay on the cuttings, so I don't really need to put anything in the pots to hold up the bags.

I put my finished cutting pots in the living room with my collection of houseplants and other things that are rooting, some succulents, mandevilla and a Harris Teeter icecream container full of purple heart cuttings. Purple Heart is a sort of wandering Jew plant. It is fabulous in the garden. It gives a color to contrast nicely with all the greens in pots or beds and it grows like crazy all summer. You can just get a small starter pot of it or do like I did and pinch a little bit from someone else's plant (now--there are some rules as you know--if its growing through a fence, you don't need to ask, otherwise you do) Purple heart roots easily from cuttings, in a jar of water or in a cutting mixture. One little plant will soon populate the garden if you keep on rooting more cuttings. You can save a bit of it in fall as a houseplant and then use it in the garden again in late spring. A wonderful semi-frugal garden plant!

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