Yes it is that time of year again when you have a real opportunity to get lots of plants for nothing. Everything is sprouting and sending out luscious green shoots just ripe for you to take some cuttings. So don’t be afraid of taking cuttings, not all of them will take, but, you will get some free plants.
9th April. Things I have been doing lately:
🌸 Dividing Carnations. In my last post I showed you how to take cuttings from Carnations; if you weren’t listening that’s your own fault. Anyway, now I have been dividing one of my carnation plants that has become too rangy and woody in the centre. This is a simple exercise that will rejuvenate the plant. Take a spade and slice directly into the woody centre of the plant. In effect you are halving the plant into two, although with large plants you can quarter them. Once you have the plant divided, place it on your potting bench and discard all the woody areas. You should aim to be left with clumps of caranation with a good bit of root stock attached. Pot the new parts up and leave on the potting bench till about September then replant.
The photos below show the woody original plant, the same plant dismembered on the potting bench and then the final two future plants potted up. (Click on each photo for enlarged view).
✂️ Taking cuttings from climbers. All climbers send out new wispy whip like shoots at this time of year. This is the best time to take new cuttings before any flowers appear and the stems start to go woody. Again the process is simple. Look for long whip like non flowering stems. Cut them off with a sharp knife (never secateurs) just below a growth bud. Place them immediately into a plastic bag this stops them drying out and is especially important if you are spending time taking lots of cuttings. Once you are back at your potting bench prepare a number of four inch pots with good free draining compost. Using your knife make a fresh cut just below a growth node and then dip the stem in growth hormone (not essential, but helpful). Place your cuttings four to a pot around the edge of the pot; this helps them take. Later when they are showing signs of good growth, you can pot them up individually.
The first photo below shows the type of growth you should be looking for to take cuttings. The second photo shows my trusty cuttings equipment: knife, plastic bag, hormone rooting liquid and dibber to make holes. The final photo shows the potted up cuttings, in this case: Solanum, Plumbago and Pink Trumpet Vine. (Click on each photo for enlarged view).
🦠 Planting out Euonymus. I have a number of Euonyium cuttings that have become quite large plants and are now unstable in their pots because they are top heavy. These plants grow well here in Spain and don’t even mind some dappled shade. Because of this I decided to plant them under a large Peruvian False Pepper tree where I already had a couple.
It is difficult digging under trees because of the dry compacted soil. So my normal tactic is to dig a bit then fill the hole with water to let is soften the soil, before starting again. The first photo below shows my early digging efforts.
The next photo shows my newly planted plants, they will love it here.
Now whenever you dig holes like this always save the soil. Top soil, for some reason I have never been able to figure out is impossible to buy in Spain. So if you get any soil save it for future use. I have made a mesh frame which fits over my wheel barrow and I use this to “raddle and sift” soil to get rid of old roots and stones. The end product is then stored in old compost sacks till I need it; and I always do. The first photo below shows my mesh raddler invention (patent pending). The second photo shows the end product ready to be bagged up.
👍 Growing those thumbnails. All good gardeners should grow their thumbnails long at this time of the year. If you have nice long thumbnails, then as you wander round the growing garden you always have your secateurs at hand at the end of your thumb to pinch off and dead head plants. Simples! The photo below shows my aged old gardeners thumb, together with that of Cruella (my wife). In case you can’t tell the difference mine is the one that is not tipped with real blood.