Save the Flowers! How to Propagate Plant Cuttings

Every year, we grow amazing flowers in the garden and containers around our house. When it finally cools down in late August and September they look amazing, we just want to keep them going and going until it is finally too cold. Last year, we kept those those plants looking great until Halloween, but frost finally did them in. If only we could have them go dormant for a few winter months and then start them back up again in the spring. Wait! We can! It just takes a little work and creativity, but you can successfully bring those plants back to life next year. Let me share one of my favorite methods with you below.

I recently came upon a new method for propagating plant cuttings that works like nothing else I have ever tried. It’s basically a container of water with a pump to circulate the water and an air store to oxygenate it. Holes are cut into the lid, so that the cuttings can be suspended independently in the water with foam disks. I used a sweet potato that had started to sprout like crazy in my pantry, since it was available, and I thought it would be a fun challenge. My cloning kit, made by a company called Hydrofarm, has room for 20 cuttings, so I pulled out my sharpest scissors and started snipping.

I chose healthy-looking sprouts, and cut them about 4-5m inches long, with a 45 degree angle on the cuts. I carefully removed (by hand) all the leaves from the cuttings (except for the top two) so the extra leaves wouldn’t take strength from the stems that needed to go into rooting. Gently, with my two daughters’ help, we placed the cuttings into the foam disks with about 2-3 inches of the cutting hanging out of the bottom, and then we positioned them in the hydroponic bath so the stems were suspended in the water. We plugged in the pump and air stone, and that was it- all we had to do at that point was wait.

The sweet potatoes were ready to transplant in about two weeks. Using a high-drainage cutting mix soil, we transplanted them into peat pots, gave them some Kangaroots to keep the roots growing, and put them on our deck for about 10 days to finish the rooting process. When they were ready, we transplanted them directly into our garden, and now they are growing like weeds and have started developing roots (sweet potatoes) for us to eat later this fall.

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