MY mother taught me a lot about gardening.
She and her gardening friends shared bulbs, corms, cuttings, slips, rhizomes, seeds.
Our family enjoyed anticipating different flowers and fruits – new frilly carnations and irises, delicate dahlias, double daffodils, fat golden pumpkins, juicy tomatoes.
Growing Australian plants was unusual in the 1950s.
Flowers from ‘the bush’ belonged ‘out there’. Familiar plants from back home in Europe were what everyone knew, enjoyed and grew. Times have changed.
The uniqueness and beauty of Australian plants is appreciated worldwide. Stunning new varieties continue to become available. We can share in the magic of growing Australian plants by emulating the propagating skills of previous generations.
Growing from cuttings is fun.
Why not have a go?
Native rosemary [Westringia], cut leaf daisy [Brachyscome multifida] or native wisteria [Hardenbergia violacea] are good for beginning propagators.
A plastic storer box makes a great mini-hothouse.
Line it with an old towel.
You’ll need snips, small plastic pots, open-draining propagating mix, propagating gel, an egg-cup size container for dipping the cuttings, a knife and a water atomiser.
Only decant the gel you will be immediately using and keep the remainder refrigerated.
Take tip cuttings of about 6–10 cm.
Remove bottom-end leaves.
Dip trimmed cuttings in the propagating gel.
Make slots in the propagating mix and insert the cuttings.
Water gently and well.
Set the pots in the storer box in a sunny spot.
If it’s a hot day, leave the lid ajar.
Keep moist but not waterlogged by misting the leaves two or three times a day with the atomiser.
Close the lid if the weather is cool.
Check for roots in about 3–4 weeks by shaking out the contents of each pot.
Pot on each rooted cutting.
Return unrooted cuttings to the propagating mix and check for roots in a few weeks’ time.
Water your newly potted plants regularly and plant them out when they are established.
EASY: Simple equipment is all you need to grow your own cuttings.