April 23, 2010
1+1 makes a lot of Plants
Posted by MSLO Blogger
The one thing that's nice about being inside at work is enjoying all the natural light here in our offices. It makes for a bunch of happy house plants. And a few covetous co-workers, namely the funny and aspiring plantsperson, Laura Solimene. She let it be known that she was 'obsessed' (her words, not mine) with the fancy leaf begonias we had. So we invited her to choose which she liked and we'd make cutting for her so she could have a plant of her own.
There are few ways to go about it, one being stem cuttings, a fast, easy, space saving method. Here's how it was done;
1 And here we have the bits; pots, oasis, or floral foam, shears for cutting, potting mix, rooting hormone, and, of course, the plants all on a wide, flat work surface.
2 I'm trying terra cotta, plastic and coir pots to see which ones will work the best. Coir is processed coconut fiber that's used primarily in orchid potting mixes and has recently been showing up as pots.
3 The clay and plastic pots were scrubbed clean and the clay and coir are soaked in water to keep them from wicking away all the moisture in the potting mix
4 I took long cuttings off the begonia to have plenty work with and to get the begonia back into a manageable size. I like fancy leaf begonias because they will drape over pots, but they do need a shear now and then.
5 Take cutting to just below a leaf node like here. This will encourage the plant to leaf out from these dormant nodes.
6 Rooting hormone compounds help plant cells elongate to grow stems and roots. Rooting hormones also have anti-fugal elements to ward off rot while the cuttings root.
7 The long stem I took is cut down to about 4" and the largest leaves are removed. Dip the cut end into the rooting hormone and tap it lightly to remove the excess.
8 By keeping a smaller set of leaves in tact, I fit 3 cuttings into a 4" plastic pot. It also means the cutting will not be overwhelmed trying to support loads of leaf surface while putting on new roots.
9 I used oasis in the clay pot instead of potting mix. Oasis is a water absorbent foam that florist for making arrangements. I used the bottom of the pot to measure the diameter I needed.
10 All set to trim.
11 I like using a metal ruler to cut. It's a straight, rigid edge that makes a clean, smooth cut. I tapered it away as I cut to make an inverted ice cream cone shape.
12 It's flipped over and inserted into the pot. I kinda wedged it in, so the top isn't exactly beautiful, but it does work. This pot goes into a bucket of water to soak thoroughly.
13 Another piece of begonia (the one Laura requested) is cut at about 4" long. The leaves really are gorgeous so we totally understood her infatuation since we all love it.
14 Excess leaves are trimmed away with a smallish cluster is left at the top. The cut end is dipped into the rooting hormone and then inserted into the foam just like with the potting mix.
15 The whole thing is snugged into semi-clear produce bag. This will act as a little 'green house', keeping the foam moist and the cutting in a humid, warm atmosphere.
16 I did the same with all the pots, loosely tying the tops to let some air flow happen and moderate the temps, which would spike way high and lead to rot otherwise.
17 Fear not, hardy begonia friends. You will leaf out again and look anew soon enough. Likely within the same time the cuttings root...wish us all luck! Are you up to try with me?
Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.