A ‘cut and tried’ way to propagate
GARDEN management during the rainy season is of utmost importance. There is relief from, the ‘too harsh’ sun and plants start recuperating, and hence gardeners have a lot to do. This is also time for procurement, propagation and planting.
One of the most important garden jobs is plant propagation. This become all the more important at a time when the rates of plants are sky rocketing. The latest craze for groundcover plant designs has made gardening a costly affair as such plants are needed in large numbers for mass effect. Multiplying plants is a specialised job and with a scientific approach, one can be successful.
In commercial nurseries even a success rate of around 50 per cent is considered satisfactory but for a home gardener, has to be 100 per cent due to the limited availability of material. This can be achieved with a little caution and some deviation from the practice in vogue.
One of the most easy and quick methods of plant propagation is by way of cuttings. Normally, the size of cutting is right but the way these are planted is not. The cuttings are planted with only an inch or two inserted in soil, resulting in heavy mortality. Now the question is why should a cutting die. This is due to desiccation which results from defective planting or rotting at the base due to soil pathogens. The medium in which the cutting is planted is of immense importance. Most of the gardeners plant cuttings in soil "so that they get proper nutrition". It is not so. The food stored in cuttings is sufficient to sustain them through the process of propagation.
One should know which part
of a particular plant to select to make a cutting. In case of
chrysanthemum, dahlia, carnation, gardenia, clerodendron, duranta,
iresin, alternathera etc you could take cuttings of the soft wood from
the plant terminals. The cuttings could be three to four inches long. In
case of bougainvillaea, roses, phalsa, poinsettia and most of the
shrubs, the hard wood should be cut, six to eight inches long. Unlike
the normal practice, the cutting should be given a slant cut at the base
and inserted two-thirds in the growing medium, which normally should be
pure sand. These should be kept moist and in a shady place. Do no try to
extract it after a few days to see whether it has struck roots or not.
You will come to know this from the appearance of new leaves that show
vigorous growth. The cuttings that fail will rot within a few days time,
which in such cases is rare. In case of rare plants where you want to be
doubly sure, you can even heat the sand to sterilise it. Cool it before
putting in the cuttings. So get ready to make your own plants this way
and see the results. This way I have succeeded even with chinar and
Zingko biloba, the fossil plant that has seen the dinosaur era.