Steven Wedd one of our most knowledgeable members described the many forms of propagation and the why propagate.

Why propagate – inexpensive, insurance against losing a valuable plant, sell excess to raise funds for organisations, gifts and personal satisfaction. 

SEED – Fine seeds. As seed raising mix is expensive Steven ¾ fills a pot with potting mix, then adds thin layer seed raising mix, then the seeds (fine vegetable seeds) and then a fine layer of seed raising mix. Give the pot a light water and put in sheltered position.

Larger seeds – For example Clivia seeds – Place directly into potting mix. Push seed partly into mix as the new roots and shoot come from same point.

Some species such as Strelitzia do not cross pollinate so new plant will be same as parent plant but others such as Cordylines, Pumpkin, Dahlia cross pollinate so new plants will vary from parent plant.

Large seeds such as Small Leafed Tamarind, place seed just under surface of mix.

DIVISION – Divide underground rhizomes e.g., Gingers, Agapanthus, day Lilies, Orchids

SOFTWOOD CUTTINGS – e.g., Coleus – remove large and old leaves to reduce transpiration, trim stem. Place in mix at least 1 node deep. Root hormone – not entirely necessary. Place in shaded area and once roots have formed slowly move brighter lit position to acclimatize.

HARDWOOD CUTTINGS – e.g., Hydrangeas – remove flower and large leaves. Place one or two nodes into mix.

HEEL CUTTINGS – e.g., Gardenia – partly cut the section to be removed and pull in a downwards motion, so you have a heel of bark at the base of the cutting (exposes the cambium layer and encourages new root growth. Trim heel as required and place in mix.

LEAF CUTTINGS – e.g., Begonia – trim stem, trim leaf to 5- 8cm width approx. Push into mix until base of leaf touches mix. Begonia leaves can be cut into sections each with a vein and laid vertically in potting mix.

STRIKING IN WATER – Steven strikes Cordylines in buckets of water. Joelle strikes African Violets leaves in water.

BULBS, TUBERS, RHIZOMES – e.g., Dahlias, Caladiums and Hippeastrum – divide of new bulbs or cut sections of rhizomes.

PLANTLETS – e.g., Iris, Kangaroo Paw, Day Lily, Costus, and Bromeliad sometimes produce plantlets on stem. Remove flowers, reduce number of leaves, trim stem and place in mix.

Dieffenbachia – trim stem, remove older leaves and place in mix. Sections of stem laid horizontally partially in mix will shoot from nodes.

Acanthus mollis – root cuttings.

If in doubt GOOGLE IT – time of year, how deep to place seeds etc.

PROPAGATION MIX – For his Dahlias Steven uses 2/3rd Coarse (washed River Sand and 1/3rd pearlite.

Stevens’s regular potting mix – ¼ Pearlite, ¼ coarse sand. ½ potting mix.

Seeds don’t like to be wet. Pearlite holds water, Sand is free draining


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