Gardening can be a wonderful, magical, exhilarating, almost spiritual experience in the Spring, Summer and even Fall. Not so much in the Winter (at least not where I live.) If you’re a gardener and your outdoor space looks like mine – snow-covered and bare branches – you may be counting down the days until you can get out and work in your garden again. That’s the approach that I had always taken ever since I started playing in the dirt many years ago – until this year. Now that we are finally settled in our long-term home (or our “until the girls go to college home”), I decided that I was going to approach my garden as one big master plan to be added to every year, rather than just trying to add a few things here and there each season with no real blueprint or plan as to what I hoped to accomplish. In the past, I always knew that we would not likely stay in whatever house we were in for more than a few years, so why do too much to the garden?
As part of my master plan, and to give me some hope for my garden during winter months, I decided to set up a mini-green house in our spare garage. While the garage does not stay as warm as the inside of our house, it is attached to the house and retains heat pretty well, even on the colder days. The garage has a lovely, large window that I thought would give my plants some nice light. While I would love to have a large, outdoor, English style Conservatory complete with heating constructed in our back yard, that is not in the budget. However, a small clear plastic table top greenhouse from Amazon would fit in the budget and also on top of the table that I planned to set in front of the garage window. I decided that I would use the greenhouse to overwinter some of the annual plants that I use in my flower pots and urns, to keep my ivy topiaries growing free from damaging frost during the winter months (I’ll write about and show you the ivy topiaries in a subsequent post – they have become a new passion for me) and to start some plants from cuttings.
I’ve always wanted to try growing plants from cuttings but never followed through with it until this year. After reading about how to start cuttings on the internet, I decided to give it a try with my Hydrangea plants. After living a large portion of my life in the Midwest, where Hydrangeas are very popular, I absolutely love any and all Hydrangea plants. When we designed the landscaped areas for our new home, I included some Hydrangea plants, but not as many as I would have liked. So I decided that rather than spend money next Spring buying Hydrangea plants for my garden, I would try growing some from my existing plants. It is actually a pretty easy process that so far, has worked out fairly well.
In the Fall, I took some cuttings, about five inches in length, from my Hydrangea plants. I took cuttings from the newer growth on the plants, not the older, woody growth. I removed the leaves on the lower portion of the cutting, dipped it in water and then dipped the cutting in a little jar of rooting hormone, which I bought from a garden supply store. I then put the cutting in a small plastic garden pot (I used 4 inch plastic pots from a garden supply store, but even a plastic cup with drainage holes would work) that I had filled with “soilless medium.” Soilless medium is a real thing – I had never heard of it before, but most garden supply stores carry it. I then watered the pot very well and spritzed the leaves. I then placed my cuttings in my little plastic tabletop greenhouse, but, any enclosed clear space would work as well. In my photos, I’ve shown you a few of my Hydrangea cuttings growing in glass cloches and a mini glass and wood greenhouse, which are a little bit prettier than a plastic greenhouse and look great inside your home. A clear plastic bin (like the one you store holiday accessories in) would also work well. The idea is to keep the plant in a clear, enclosed space near good light so that it stays warm and doesn’t dry out. Indirect light is perfect for these Hydrangea cuttings, which are not lovers of direct sun. The plants need to be checked on every few days and kept moist. I spritz mine with water every few days and water them, if they need it, once a week. Because they are in a greenhouse setting, they really don’t dry out very easily.
Since the Hydrangea cuttings seemed to be doing well, I decided to try my luck with some ivy cuttings. I followed the same cutting, dipping and planting rules as I used with my Hydrangeas and so far, they look pretty good as well. I plan to let all of the cuttings continue to grow in the greenhouse during the Winter and then add them to the garden, or in the case of my ivies, to topiaries, in the Spring. While it isn’t the same as getting my hands dirty in the garden, I have really enjoyed watching these little cuttings turn into plants of their own. I can’t wait to see how they do when I plant them in the ground. Have you had good luck rooting plant clippings? If so, let me know as I’d love to hear about it!