GAR­DEN HINTS

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - WITH HE­LEN

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.

with He­len van Riet, AUS­TRALIAN PLANTS SO­CI­ETY (VIC­TO­RIA)

EASY: Sim­ple equip­ment is all you need to grow your own cut­tings.

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