Sunday, September 25, 2011

Redneck Plant Propagation

I am not a Redneck, but I am from that proud stock and those roots run deep. One of my first memories is of my Grandma starting a geranium cutting in a clay pot with an upside down mason jar. If Grandma was alive today she would be shocked and dismayed by the useful things we throw away. As is Blue Cat.

 Some people see a convenient way to serve salad. I see a greenhouse.  

With that in mind, here is what I did today:

Sage (the cooking type), only lasts 3 or 4 years. If you want more plants, you either have to buy them, or grow them yourself. Luckily they are very easy to grow from cuttings. 
Here's how:

Cut your plants back by 5-6 inches.

One small plant filled this basket.

Strip off the bottom leaves like this.

And re-cut the end as close as you can to the last leaf node (where the leaves were attached before you tore them off). This is very important because new roots will sprout from this little seam. Anything left below that will just rot.

Pinch out the tip. Young  and tender leaves wilt. Your cuttings should have several healthy, mature leaves like this.

As you work, store them in a tub of cool water.

Cut drainage holes in your "pots".

Fill your pots with soil and stick your cuttings. I put 2 per pot because some of them probably won't make it.

Water well!

Find just the right spot for your new babies. Dappled sunlight is best. Put your pots into a large salad container, then add about half an inch of water to the bottom. Put a second container over the top. Instant greenhouse! You can use a bit of tape to hold it all together if necessary. Your Redneck ancestors will smile. It will take about 3-4 weeks for your cuttings to root. Add more water as needed.

Take all those leaves you tore off and dry them on a tray. Rednecks never waste anything.

Cross your fingers and hope it all works out. Got almost 40 lavender plants from my Redneck greenhouse a few months ago!

July 2012 follow up:

I'm afraid Fat Max squashed that first batch of cuttings to bits. In the Spring I did a do-over but provided adequate protection from Max's rather large behind.

I took these cuttings in May. Here they are in June, ready to be potted up.

About 2/3 of them developed nice root systems.

I think I got about 20 plants.

And here they are today in July. They've outgrown the smaller pots so I'm putting them into 1/2 gallon grow bags. It's much too hot to plant them into the garden right now.

See, you really don't need much of anything at all to grow your own plants.
Just a bit of patience.


  1. Great tutorial! Good luck on the new cuttings.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Thanks, Cher! I'll post the results next month. Your mums sure are pretty.

  3. Wow, Katie, ...this is the best post I've seen on how to make root cuttings. Everything sounds very sensible and a few things i've never heard, such as the last leaf node and to pinch out the tips. Thanks!

  4. Hi Sue,
    I hope you will try you own cuttings! I think a lot of people are intimidated by this. It's a very simple process. Many, many herbaceous and semi-woody plants can be rooted this way. You can even use a pot with a baggie over the top. Patience is the hardest thing.

  5. What industry! What a great result!

  6. Hi Esther!
    I am pretty proud of all that lavender. Plus, when I'm out planting it this Winter I won't feel guilty about spending the grocery money on the garden.

  7. Katie your Blog is informative, instructive, beautiful, funny, cute and just about every other positive adjective I can think of!!! Kudos to you! M

  8. Well thank you "M"! I think you're pretty great too.

  9. Very impressive! I love the thrifty resourceful spirit you're celebrating!

    1. Thanks Lisa and Robb!
      That's a better compliment to me than you know.


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