Make more from cut­tings

Gardeners' World - - Spring Colour -

A great way to prop­a­gate vi­o­las is to take cut­tings. It also guar­an­tees that you’ll get iden­ti­cal plants to the orig­i­nal, as most va­ri­eties won’t come true from saved seeds. Cut­tings tend to be easy to root, taken ei­ther in spring from vig­or­ous young plants or later in sum­mer when es­tab­lished plants are grow­ing back again, hav­ing been cut back and ti­died up. soon as pos­si­ble, clumps can be pulled apart into smaller sec­tions, each with their own roots, and re­planted straight away. For the most in­tense per­fume, you can’t beat the so-called Parma vi­o­lets, which have a fra­grance just like the sweets of the same name. These cul­ti­vars are not re­li­ably hardy though, and need to be pro­tected un­der glass dur­ing win­ter, es­pe­cially if their flow­ers are to re­main un­sul­lied. Among the most fa­mous Parma vi­o­lets are ‘Duchesse de Parme’, a dou­ble-flow­ered cul­ti­var with ex­otic scent, and ‘Marie-Louise’, which is said to have the most pow­er­ful per­fume. Whether it’s na­tive vi­o­las, win­ter bed­ding pan­sies or old-fash­ioned hy­brids that you want to grow, they all re­spond to the same treat­ment. A cool root run, with com­post or soil that is rich in or­ganic mat­ter. They will ben­e­fit from an oc­ca­sional feed with a bal­anced or­ganic fer­tiliser, and con­stant dead­head­ing will en­cour­age them to keep pro­duc­ing their lovely cheery flow­ers from spring right through to early au­tumn.

Carol adores white Vi­ola odor­ata for its sweet fra­grance and ed­i­ble flow­ers

2 Trim each cut­ting at the base, just below a leaf node to give a neat end. Re­move the bot­tom leaves.

3 Nip out the grow­ing tip to en­cour­age sideshoots to form. Keep do­ing this to cre­ate bushier plants and more flow­ers.

1 Look for short stems, with­out flow­ers or buds, and cut with a sharp knife. They’ll lose mois­ture quickly, so place in a plas­tic bag.

4 Fill small pots with gritty com­post. Make holes at the edge of the pot and pop in the cut­tings up to their bot­tom leaves.

6 Place in a cool, shel­tered spot. Re-pot into in­di­vid­ual pots when you see new growth and roots pok­ing out the drainage holes.

5 Cover the sur­face of the com­post with grit. Wa­ter care­fully from above to help set­tle the cut­tings in the com­post.

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