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Questions about Cuttings

August 6 2013 at 11:25 AM
Paul  (Login hummmp)
Hummingbirder 2012

I was hoping to try taking cuttings for the first time. I know their are several different techniques, etc. My question is less about how to take cuttings but more specifically which plants work best and how to overwinter since I do not have a basement. I do have a garage that is attached but not heated. It doesn't appear to go below freezing because my boiler is in the garage, but it does get quite cold probably high 30's. I am also limited with indoor space, but do have a little room by my sliding glass door. Also, what kind of light is needed, do I need to buy a fluorescent strip to hang above them if there is no window?

The plants I am interested in taking cuttings from are:

Agastache rupestris
Salvia Guaranitica (though they seem to overwinter O.K in the ground here in zone 7)
Salvia Greggii
Lobelia Cardinalis
Salvia Involucrata
shrimp plant
cuphea david verity

Last year I left a few potted plants in the garage that appeared to have died but then began to grow again with new shoots.

Thank you. I appreciate any practical advice.

Paul Long Island

 
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Ward
(Login WardDas)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 6 2013, 1:10 PM 

If you get a well established pot of Black & Blue going you can let it frost off in late fall and store it in the garage - new cuttings won't work. Cardinal Flower and Agastache rupestris can probably have their pots set in the ground outside and survive - they are very hardy. Some folk have reported success with David Verity and Salvia greggii with garage storage - that surprised me. I keep mine in active growth. I have also had lots of success with covering in-ground David Verity with bags of leaves. I cut them down and cover them after they get frozen to the ground. You may be able to store Salvia involucrata dormant in the garage after it frosts off. No clue about Shrimp Plant. My only plant is kept in active growth on my slightly above freezing porch.

 
 
Paul
(Login hummmp)
Hummingbirder 2012

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 6 2013, 2:08 PM 

Thank you Ward. Last year I actually had two salvia involucratas and two salvia chiapensis that were already in pots. All four came back in February. However, this year I planted them in the ground.

 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 6 2013, 2:52 PM 

Two years in a row now I have over wintered cuphea david verity in my garage. I just add about 3" of mulch on top and give them about a quart of water once a month or so. I am zone 6.

Salvia guaranitica can be started anew by using the underground runners which are white. Those can be collected in late summer or fall or in the spring, but If go that route I would start them immediately upon collection. Moist peat would work for those.

Steve
martinsville In
Zone 6

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Paul
(Login hummmp)
Hummingbirder 2012

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 6 2013, 4:59 PM 

Hi Steve,

I'm wondering were your cupheas in the ground and then you potted them up for the winter? I thought I read that doesn't always go as well as plants already in a pot?

Thank you.

Paul

 
 
Ward
(Login WardDas)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 7 2013, 8:48 AM 

It is easy enough to take a few cuttings now and stick them in a pot. Two months might be enough to get them hardy.

 
 
greenmann
(Login greenmangardens)
Hummingbirder 2012

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 8 2013, 1:47 AM 

its been my experience that if the plants are hardy in the ground for you, with minimal protection they should be hardy in pots as well. A simple cold frame, or even a ring of bags of leaves around the pots with a piece of plastic, tarp or something over the top should do the trick for most of the hardier stuff. Cuttings are a little more delicate, but so long as the new roots don't freeze, they should be fine with the same protection.

Agastache hates the winter wet in western Washington, so are normally treated as annuals here, but you can try overwintering them relatively dry, either in a cold basement or garage, or what I am going to try is under the eaves of the house, protected from the majority of the winter rains. The trick is getting them enough water in Spring to get them going, but not so much they drown before they get started. As I said, more often than not, they are treated as annuals here.

Salvia greggii should be easier , if you follow the recommendations in a couple of threads on here. Not sure with Salvia involucrata but again, cuttings might be easier if the parent plants are in the ground, but would be worth a try regardless. Others here have more experience with Salvia guaranitica, which also tends to work more like an annual here, but if its generally hardy in the ground, it should be hardy as cuttings as well, with a little winter protection.

Lobelia cardinalis is usually divided rather than grown from cuttings I believe. Or from seed, though the recent thread on that seems to indicate that it's slow. Honestly I would leave it alone if its not huge, and try scattering seed in likely places. These seem rather picky and from what I have heard, don't like being moved around or divided. I haven't tried it in years though, and its not native here, so it might be easier to grow for you.

I haven't tried it, but the shrimp plant should be almost as easy to propagate by cuttings. I would guess this one should go inside for the winter, and grown more or less actively in a cool room that gets colder at night, with as much light as you can.

My guess is that Cuphea would also be easier to take cuttings now and overwinter the cuttings inside rather than dig up the ones in the ground. You could try something like the bags of leaves over the top to see if you can overwinter them that way, but I would take some cuttings as insurance. Ive had the best luck in the past with Cuphea by overwintering them growing on all winter in the living room window, but our house is relatively cool, day time temps in the mid 60s, night time lows often down in the upper 50s. I've read that for indoor plants like these, making sure the night time temps are lower is vitally important for their health. Sub tropical like the shrimp plant and cupheas especially will be much healthier with a nightly drop in temps.

Indoor lights can be as simple as a four foot shop light, fitted with one cool white and one full spectrum if you can get it. Bright south facing windows are always good too, if you can spare one. Or both even, lol. Supplemental light isn't always necessary, but it will hedge your bets a bit, and the extra light always seems welcome for the plants. Experts say the light should be around 3-4 inches from the leaves, which is why many of the fancy propagation systems have the lights on a track so they can raise and lower. Or you can just use boxes and things to raise the trays up. As they get taller, the plants can get lanky, at which point you can cut them back and strike more cuttings from the tops.

A trick for starting cuttings is to use one or another variation on a self-watering system, which keep the roots at an even moisture, and tent them to keep humidity high till the new roots have formed. Lots of ways to do both... look around on the web for lots of variations on how people achieve both. Some things do best with bottom heat as well. I recently saw a youtube journal where a guy used those tube style Christmas lights under his seed and cutting trays to get a gentle bottom heat. Since these are sealed, sounds like a great way to do it, but I haven't tried it.

Anyway, if you can get a few cuttings of each, try a few different ways, lol.

Brett Johnson
near Seattle
Washington 98040
USDA zone 8b


 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 8 2013, 11:23 AM 

Paul

Yes my cupheas were already in pots. But as Ward mentioned david verity cuttings are so easy to root that might be the way to go for you. I dont know that I would wait much past sept. to take cuttings though.

Steve
martinsville In
Zone 6

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Paul
(Login hummmp)
Hummingbirder 2012

Re: Questions about Cuttings

August 8 2013, 2:41 PM 

Thank you Brett, Steve, and Ward for the thorough and detailed answers. It is so helpful to gain from your trial and error and experience. Thanks.


 
 
 
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