The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Tick­led pink on the cut­tings edge

Now’s the time to prune for sum­mer, so why not use the of­f­cuts to prop­a­gate – it’s eas­ier than you think

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YOU don’t have to be a par­tic­u­larly adept gar­dener to grow cut­tings.

Be pre­pared to be shocked at how easy it is to prop­a­gate some of our most pop­u­lar gar­den plants.

Frangi­pani, the pink shav­ing brush tree (Pseu­dobom­bax el­lip­ticum), dra­caena, cordyline, an­gel’s trum­pet (Brug­man­sia ar­borea), yucca, agave and other suc­cu­lent species, such as aloes and tree-like cac­tuses, can be prop­a­gated from large, in­stant cut­tings pruned from ma­ture plants.

Spring and early sum­mer are the ideal time to experiment with this tech­nique. Gar­den­ers in the trop­ics are al­ready plan­ning to be­gin cut­ting back ex­cess growth be­fore the sum­mer wet sea­son. Else­where, warmer spring tem­per­a­tures en­sure fast re­growth.

These plants can be cut up with a prun­ing saw, or even an old carv­ing knife, and grown from me­tre-long cut­tings. Plants that weep a sticky sap are best left to dry out for a few days or weeks. Place them in a shady spot un­til you’re ready to plant them.

When prun­ing, make shap­ing your pri­or­ity, rather than the se­lec­tion of cut­ting ma­te­rial. Cut plants back to points of the stem where a side branch ex­ists, and shorten longer stems to achieve a rounded shape. With a lit­tle fer­tiliser and wa­ter, the pruned plants gen­er­ally grow back big­ger and bet­ter, with branched, bushy heads and an im­proved ap­pear­ance.

Re­move the fo­liage from the lower two thirds of the stem. Stick a piece of mask­ing tape along the length of the stem and draw an arrow on it to in­di­cate which way is up.

Each spring Dra­caena Farm Nurs­ery in Beach­mere will prune the com­mon yucca plant (Yucca ele­phan­tipes), var­ie­gated yucca (Yucca ‘Sil­ver Star’), and the happy plant (Dra­caena mas­sangeana) for free.

Your plants need to be at least 2m tall, multi-headed and bushy.

The nurs­ery will also mulch and fer­tilise your plants. You will be of­fered $1 per me­tre for the of­f­cuts or can opt to do­nate this to school gar­den­ing projects. For more in­for­ma­tion, email: dra­cae­na_­farm@big­pond.com

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