There are some perennials that do better in certain seasons than others. Then there are the pockets here and there that just need some color added after the caladiums fade away. That's where the annuals come in handy.
This year has been a little different. With all the uncertainty in the economy and prices rising on every commodity I'm finding myself being more frugal about my garden
When I first started gardening (and for many years after) I was so impatient for the end result, I wouldn't have thought about taking the time to pot up my own plants from cuttings. My neighbor used to have me save my empty plastic pots from the nursery so she could use them for just that purpose. I gladly gave her all of mine and never thought twice about doing that myself. No, too messy, too bothersome, too time consuming.
Little did I know, now that I'm getting older (did I say that?) how much fun I would have snipping and clipping and potting up cuttings to root. How satisfying it is to know you propogated your own plants from the resources in your own garden! For me, it started a few years back when I found myself enlarging every bed I had made a few years prior. It just made more economical sense to make the most of what I already had. Now days it makes even more sense.
You can see some of the recently rooted coleus were moved to the front garden last week. After being nursed for a few weeks in a location readily accessible to water but not to the general passerby they were ready for planting. All those little odds and ends pots do have a messy appearance. So I like to keep them tucked away on the north side yard where one has to make an effort to walk around to if they were going to catch sight of them.
Way back in the NE corner (above): I'm gradually evolving this area to a more woodsy and natural feel. Recently I planted ten or so variegated schefflera plants from cuttings that had been potted up in the spring. They will fill in around the combinations of fire bush, dracaenas, bromeliads, clerodendrum, jatropha, euphorbia, oakleaf hydrangea and beauty berry. They will also lend to the fullness I'm looking to acheive. Their size along with foliage of yellow and green leaves make a good blend with the plants already established in that corner.
This week there's a whole new set of cuttings (above) in my little hide away place. I've dug up runners from the snow bush, divided shell ginger, made more cuttings to root of schefflera, polka dot plant, fire bush, clerodendrum, and coccinea salvia. All of these are for another bed I visualize enlarging and planting out in the spring. I'll nurse these here all winter.
Speaking of salvia. I've made several plants from one of coccinea salvia this summer. Just cut off a stem and put it in some good soil. It will look terrible for about a week and then all of a sudden it will perk up and start sending out new leaves and buds. Too easy.
There are times when I combine a purchased plant with cuttings. There are times when I don't bother to root my cuttings first. Such is the case in the three pots above (also visible in the header). The red salvia was bought (on sale). The chartruese coleus and sweet potato vine were cut and poked into the pot. Again, keep in mind, they droop for a couple of days and then perk right up and start producing.
There are many plants that don't need to go in a pot first. In other words they can be divided and placed directly in the new location. Each gardener has to determine which plants in your garden need extra attention to root. It is only those plants that I put in pots.
Here's a rundown and tips that work for me... hopefully they'll work for you, too.
1) Think about the next season. At this point we're thinking about spring.
2) Where might you want to create a new bed or enlarge an existing one?
3) Look around your own garden to see what you could use to transplant, divide, or root for the new area.
4) Design it with these plants in mind. Usually I purchase a few as well but using your plants is a really good starting place.
5) Start with really good potting soil in appropriate sized pots for your new plant.
6) Either dig up rooted plants or make cuttings to place in the pots with your good soil.
7) By the way- I always leave a piece of the rooted plant from where I've dug one up and divided. That way there's one still growing where I took the new plant from.
8) Keep the pots near water so it won't be difficult to keep them wet until they root.
9) Remember they won't all live but that's okay. At least most of them do and that's more than you started with.
10) Don't keep them in the pots too long or they will become root bound just like any other potted plant.
11) Transfer them into the ground or pot when it's time and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
I know many dear readers have been practicing these methods a lot longer than me. What about you? How is the strained economy affecting your gardening? Maybe you cut back somewhere else so you can keep your garden purchases the same?