Free Plants! Learning to Propagate

The Gardenist

I'm bringing you along on a horticultural adventure. I need more plants (I have a big garden) — more than I can afford. Free plants, how can anyone turn that down? I am going to try propagating from some of the garden favorites that I already have. Have you done this? It is all new to me, but I have known many a successful gardener that did it… so I am jumping in.

Here are some reasons to try propagating:

1. You need/want (is there a difference?) more plants.
2. You want to make a stronger design statement — one of something is never as good as many of something
3. You need something green to fuss and marvel over as things start to die down outside.

I am going to experiment with these plants:

1. Boxwood - I have two beautiful dark blue-green boxwoods that were saved from a client's garden years ago. I have never seen others so thick and so dark — I love them and want more. I found good advice on taking boxwood cuttings here and here. Seems like this is a good time of year to do it, so I am headed to the garden center to get some rooting horomones and some potting soil.

2. Hydrangea - My reading on this is that perhaps the fall isn't the easiest time to try (it is apparently more successful in the spring)… but since I am dragging out the dirt bags and pots, I am going to try anyway. I have a stunningly gorgeous deep blue hydrangea that came with my house — f I had a few more to spread around, I would not only be able to fill some empty spaces, but it would visually tie in the one that I already have.

3. Geraniums - These are reputed to be one of the easiest things to propagate...so I am going to try them out so that (hopefully) I will guarantee at least a little success.

Have you propagated plants from cuttings before? I would love to hear your experiences and advice. And if you're interested in joining in on this fall experiment, fee free to comment with what you are going to try and them come back and let us know how it went.

Also, Just a note about free plants: you can split many plants into smaller clumps and get free plants that way, too. Grasses are great for this. If you have questions about whether a plant is best duplicated by rooted cuttings or splitting you can always google it, but feel free to ask here and we can see if the collective knowledge can answer your question. And finally, HGTV has a great post about what other plants might be good to propagate from cuttings.

(Image: Shutterstock)