|Lemon Balm cutting|
What I learned from my mom about this procedure is that you want to choose a healthy little side branch, not a piece of the main stem; that you want it to be several inches long, and not have too many leaves (it's advisable to take off the lower leaves, so that they are not submerged in water, leading to rot or drowning or just generally hindering the root-growing process), but you want to leave some leaves on the cutting so the plant is still able to absorb sun for energy. Too many leaves though and the plant will use most of it's energy to grow and maintain the leaves: you want most of the energy to go into the sprouting and growing of roots.
Well. Recently, my boyfriend decided he wanted to grow some ivy plants from the giant ivy that covers our house, so that he could have the plants growing inside. I said, sure! Easy. We'll cut a bunch of shoots, put 'em in water, wait a few weeks and be good to go! Hm. Ivy not going as well as basil did.
|The ivy-jar line-up|
A few things:
- Make the cutting relative to the size and type of plant you are cutting from. For small or delicate plants, a cutting about 3 - 6 inches will work best, whereas cuttings from a bush or tree or woody sort of plant can be much larger, closer to a foot in length.
- It is preferable and advisable that you leave a 'node', or knot, on the stem, which will be submerged in water and then in the soil. A node to me is best explained as where a new growth is or will be sprouting out of the main stem, where growth is sprouting between the main stem and a side branch. Often the roots will sprout out of these nodes like leaves would have, or the roots will appear under or near this place.
- Flowers will also suck energy from the root-sprouting, just like an excess number of leaves. Remove any flowers from your cutting.
- It's all trial and error, really. Some plants may work best sprouted in water, some may have an easier time sprouting roots in really good potting soil. Be patient (It can take weeks), keep the cuttings/ soil moist (or keep the water topped up if that's how you're going about this), have faith in your plants!
- For cuttings in soil: After a week or two, give your cutting a *gentle* tug...if there is some resistance that means roots have started to sprout! Give your plant a little time to establish its roots, gain some strength, and then do your transplanting (if that is your intention).
-What a great (and free) way to increase your plant population, and a nice simple way to share and trade plants with friends.
|Baby ivy cuttings trying out the soil.|
|I also potted some black tomato plant 'suckers'. Supposed to leave them in water for a few days, then plant.|
|Getting the wee greens out of the direct sun, this is definitely very important.|
Hoping for the best, I'll do a follow-up at some point soon and let you know how this experiment is going!