Of all the amazing things that can take place in a garden, little gives Betty Crowther more pleasure than watching her plants grow, especially the ones she has propagated.
"I get a kick out of seeing a new plant grow from a cutting or seed," Crowther said.
From the many years that Crowther has spent growing things from both seed and cutting, she's developed a sound method that has given her, and many of her friends, a bounty of new plants.
"Lots of things will grow in water alone; others I let take root in soil," she explained.
When rooting a cutting in soil, Crowther always follows the same technique.
"First, I remove most of the leaves from the stem and make a 2- to 4-inch cutting, depending on the type of plant," Crowther explained.
When making the cut, she is careful to use sterile tools.
"This is very important, because using dirty tools to make a cutting is just getting germs into a cut. So, I just wipe my tools with a cloth or rag that has been wet in a bleach solution," she said.
When making the cut, she does it at an angle.
Doing so makes it easier to insert the cutting into its new home.
"With the cutting done, I then dip it into water and add a little bit of hormone rooting powder," she explained.
The cutting is then ready for potting.
"Insert the cutting into a pot that has good potting soil," Crowther said.
Just like the tools used to gather a cutting, the pot also needs to be clean.
"Start with a clean pot," she said. "That way, you won't have to worry about bacteria from a previous plant."
While many gardening gurus advise to place only one cutting in a pot, Crowther said she has found just the opposite to be effective.
"I usually put several together in one pot," she said. "I don't know if they sustain one another or not, but I've found that works for me."
Giving a new cutting proper hydration is also important.
"Just gently spray it with water and put it in a shady spot where you can check on it," Crowther said.
For Crowther, growing plants from cuttings is also a matter of economics.
"Well, I'm just thrifty, and this is a wonderfully inexpensive way to grow plants," she said.
But it's the wonder of it all that keeps her going, she said.
"My mother-in-law teases me and doesn't understand why I invest all of this time into growing a plant. She thinks it would be so much easier to just go and buy one from the store.
"I start all of my annuals from seed," she said. "It takes a long time. But it's just something to know that I've planted a tiny brown seed, and it's so exciting to see a tiny piece of green pop up.
"I get such pleasure from that. It is rather addictive, though."
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