Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings.Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings

As part of the new houseplants that I have recently taken on, one was a white Pelargonium, which needed some TLC. It came out of its pot with not much by way of roots. I’m not sure how well this will cope, or even survive, with this transplant. So, I have taken some cuttings in order to increase my chance of keeping this plant alive.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
The original white pelargonium plant

Pelargoniums

There’s a lot of confusion about the naming, or nomenclature, of Pelargoniums. They are commonly called Geraniums, partly because they do belong to the Geraniaceae family, but also because of some confusion when they were brought to the UK. Apparently, one plant writer used the incorrect term and was more famous than the chap who was doing it correctly. What’s silly is that the true Geraniums get called ‘Hardy Geraniums’.

The Geraniums I’m talking about are the Pelargoniums, which come from South Africa, and are frost-tender and have a more succulent appearance.

Taking Pelargonium Cuttings

I chose some short side-shoots from the main plant for my cuttings material. The standard advice with all succulent cutting material is to allow it to dry and slightly callus before putting it into the potting media. This way there is less chance of the cutting rotting before it has the chance to root. The other difference from standard soft wood or semi-ripe cuttings is that you don’t enclose the tops in a plastic bag to increase humidity. The extra humidity can also cause the cuttings to rot so they are instead left out and dry.

I cut below a node, strip excess leaves from the stem, and remove large leaves to reduce water loss. Then I leave them to sit on a dry bench to callus.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
Small pelargonium cuttings

The first time I took pelargonium cuttings I did enclose them in a plastic bag and didn’t leave them time to callus. They took anyway, which was probably luck, but just goes to show how keen they are to take.

Aftercare of Pelargonium Cuttings

Once you’ve taken the cuttings, and they’ve had some time to dry a little at the ends, put them in a gritty potting mix. I have some new (old) terracotta pots that I find work really well for cuttings. You don’t need terracotta pots, however, as cuttings will work in most containers. Where excess moisture is particularly dangerous to cuttings, exactly like it is to Pelargonium cuttings and other succulent cuttings, the porous nature of the terracotta helps.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
Pelargonium cuttings in a gravel mix

I water them in and then leave them in a bright, dry area of the greenhouse. It will take a couple of weeks for them to root. I wait until there are plenty of roots coming from the bottom of the pot and some sign of new growth before potting on. If space is tight you can leave them, rooted, in the pots over winter before potting on in Spring.

How to take Basil Cuttings

Other cuttings taken recently

Cheap and cheerful – how to create more basil plants using water cuttings 

Cheap and cheerful - how to create more basil plants using water cuttings

A simple way to take basil cuttings to make new plants for free

I have a terrible record when it comes to growing basil from seeds so I was really intrigued to hear about taking cuttings from plants to create more. I can’t believe it’s never occurred to me before to take basil cuttings. Usually, I cheat by buying a plant in a supermarket, with multiple elongated seedlings crammed together, and try to divide and plant these out. This has given me a small amount of success if I can harvest the leaves before the slugs get them.

I was listening to a recent podcast episode of Still Growing and was inspired to try basil cuttings myself.

How to take basil cuttings

The vigorous growth on basil is perfect for softwood cuttings. I took lengths of stem around 2-3 inches long and removed the lower leaves. Cutting under a node (where the leaves were emerging from the stem) encourages roots to develop at a point where the hormones are concentrated. The very softest growth at the top of the cutting was pinched out.

The leaves and tips that I stripped off were used in a pasta dish so no wastage.

Cheap and cheerful - how to create more basil plants using water cuttings
Basil cuttings in water

Since basil is related closely to mint it should root as easily as mint. At the same time as I took the basil cuttings I also took Peppermint and Sweet Potato. These were placed into small glasses somewhere sheltered, out of direct sunlight. The downstairs toilet windowsill is perfect. An unexpected bonus is the aromatic wafts you get from the basil and peppermint.

Cheap and cheerful - how to create more basil plants using water cuttings
Basil, Sweet Potato and Peppermint cuttings

Waiting for roots on my basil cuttings

The Sweet Potato and Peppermint definitely won the root race and had grown some adventitious roots within 4 days. I had to wait a long 10 days to see some action on the basil.

Cheap and cheerful - how to create more basil plants using water cuttings
Roots showing after 10 days

Potting on basil cuttings

Once there was a good amount of root on each basil cutting, and when I had time to do it, I potted them on into loose multipurpose compost to establish.

Cheap and cheerful - how to create more basil plants using water cuttings
Good amount of root ready for potting up

This was a really easy bit of propagation and was quite successful. A couple of minutes work to prepare the cuttings was all it took to get the process going. One cutting had to be discarded due to rot (It needed to be removed from the water) and I replaced the water twice over the 10 days. That’s it! I’m hoping they’ll establish well so I can pot them on again before starting to harvest.

MyPottingBench: Down Under – Chillies

image-2

There have been some gardening successes over the past 18 months.

One thing I have really enjoyed is being able to get some proper crops off the peppers and chillies. This time I’ve much much more success at growing chillies and peppers. I think the last few years I was gardening in Devon we had some wet summers with low light levels. My greenhouse  only came into it’s own during that year so I haven’t ever felt that I was succeeding in the chilli/pepper stakes. Of course in Oz they prefer to call peppers ‘capsicum’ (which makes you feel like a right wally in the supermarket).

Sources seeds in Australia

I was able to source some Australian seed from The Diggers Club and bought 2 collections. One was a ‘mild-mannered’ collection of chillies and a selection of 7 different peppers.

 

MyPottingBench: Down Under - Chillies
Chillies
MyPottingBench: Down Under - Chillies
Peppers aka capsicum

 

The next generation

I was even able to save some seed for coming years and to share with an elderly aunt who lives near us. The plants have come through winter okay and look like they’re going to give us another year of cropping.

MyPottingBench: Down Under - Chillies
Seeds being segregated ready for the drying process

Greenhouse Construction 4 – MyPottingBench has a new home!

The finished product

After a few weeks, several trips to the DIY store and agricultural supplier, the circular saw catching fire and 2 re-designs, the greenhouse is done.

Well almost done; there are a few tinkering jobs that need finishing off, but essentially it’s ready to go.

The features

The Potting Bench

MyPottingBench sitting in its new home
MyPottingBench sitting in its new home

 

It’s nice to have a potting bench that’s sat at the correct height for me. This evening I pricked out 2 trays of nicotiana and zinnia with my back straight for the first time since moving into the cottage. I have potting bench has been lifted up off the gravel floor to avoid rusting as well as getting up to the correct height for me.

The back wall

The painted back wall bounces light around. I might add some hooks for convenient storage but I’ve decided to use the shelf for plants rather than storing sundries as it seems a shame to waste the space under glass.

The back wall will have things hung from it for easy reach.
The back wall will have things hung from it for easy reach.

 

The floating shelves

These are my floating shelves. They’re made from a simple wooden frame with wire mesh for the top. They’re wide enough to accommodate a full seed tray and crucially don’t block light from getting to the raised beds underneath. I wanted to make the most of the space available given the restrictions of the site. The space is multifunctional and needs to perform different roles. This greenhouse needed to be a potting shed, a way into the main garden shed and also a greenhouse so compromises had to be made. The compromise is the water does rain onto the bed beneath which can disturb young seedlings but I’ll have to see how it goes.

 

My floating shelves - they'll let light and water through to the raised beds
My floating shelves – they’ll let light and water through to the raised beds

My gorgeous puppy dog Mollie inspecting my efforts.

Another view of the floating shelves and the front outlook.
Another view of the floating shelves and the front outlook.

The front of the greenhouse looks out onto the stone barn that is a huge feature of the garden and I can see the back doors from there. I can also see if someone’s offering me a cup of tea so it’s win win!

And finally…

So here it is – my very first greenhouse ever and certainly the most complicated thing I’ve ever built on my own. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can achieve growing under glass.

'Door' attached to prevent further 'christening' by the cats
‘Door’ attached to prevent further ‘christening’ by the cats

 

Catch up on the Story

Construction Greenhouse: Part 1

Construction Greenhouse: Part 2

Construction Greenhouse: Part 3

 

Greenhouse Construction 3

Greenhouse Construction

Things come on leaps and bounds

We have progress! A dry, sunny afternoon off work and I now have something that looks like a greenhouse. Having done lots of prep work recently it’s good to see something for my efforts.

Greenhouse construction
The pots in front are to blend it in

The other half has already started beautifying the area – a skill I don’t possess and there’s lots of work in that area to go. The area behind the potting bench still needs finishing and painting, the raised beds need filling, and after an end of day review we’ve decided the raised beds need higher sides.

Greenhouse construction
A full view of the wonky roof shape and the relationship to the shed

 

The Full Story

Construction Greenhouse: Part 1

Construction Greenhouse: Part 2

Construction Greenhouse: Part 3

Construction Greenhouse: Part 4

Not a Greenhouse Construction update

Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'

An update on the progress happening in the garden

I was hoping by the end of this weekend to have a triumphant update with images of a completed greenhouse (or at least a watertight/glazed greenhouse). However the constant rain has scuppered my plans and instead of sharing photos of the roof in pieces on the floor of our barn waiting to be put together I thought I’d show what’s happening in the cottage garden this spring. Looking back of the blog there hasn’t been much greenery for a while.

In the propagator barn

The tomato and pepper seedlings are just about ready to stretch their legs (and probably have been ready for a least a week or more if I’m honest) and the Gypsophila elegans seedlings were crying out for some room. So these, along with Digitalis ‘Primrose carousel’ and Dahlia coccinea, got upgraded. It does mean they’re now on the floor of the barn rather than the window seat but they’ll do for a bit.

Gypsophila elegans
Gypsophila elegans and Digitalis seedlings ready to move on
Seedlings in desperate need of a greenhouse
Seedlings in desperate need of a greenhouse
Digitalis 'Primrose carousel'
Digitalis ‘Primrose carousel’

The Top Garden

The Aquilegia in the garden are coming along well and there may even be the first flower out this week. Excitingly, the Aquilegia yabeana sown from Plant World Seeds are looking really strong and may produce their first flower ever this year. Podophyllum hexandrum ‘Spotty Dotty’ is a stunning plant with foliage that looks like a toad. It was brought for me by my aunt as an engagement present last year and, again, we’re hoping for it to bloom for the first time.

Overall there’s a real energy to the garden with growth pushing through everywhere you look. The transplanted astrantia and larkspur are coming on well as if they hadn’t noticed the change of scenery. I think I need to start putting up some plant supports to stop the flop later in the year.

Blue cat enjoying the view to the top garden
Blue cat enjoying the view to the top garden
Emerging shoots of Hellebore, Peony, Elephant garlic and Monkshood
Emerging shoots of Hellebore, Peony, Elephant garlic and Monkshood
Podophyllum hexandrum 'Potty Dotty'
Podophyllum hexandrum ‘Potty Dotty’
Aquilegia vulgaris
Aquilegia vulgaris
Aquilegia yabeana looking strong
Aquilegia yabeana looking strong

 

The near garden

Mixed border with a Fuschia in a pot
Mixed border with a Fuschia in a pot
Flowering Clematis
Flowering Clematis

 

Euphorbia
Euphorbia
Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'
Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’

What’s coming next?

Moving on plants from the propagator meant I had some room to fill. I’ve started some Zinnia ‘Purple Prince’, more Basil ‘Sweet Genovese’, Foeniculum purpureum, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Candy Stripe’, and Scabiousa caucasia ‘Perfecta Blue’. It’s the best time of year!

Springing up

Nepeta and Phlox Cuttings

Spring Displays in the Garden

I was was going to post an update on the progress of the greenhouse. However, intermittent rain showers and the wrong kind of screws has limited progress. It would have been more of a ‘no progress’ report. Instead I’m sharing some images taken at the weekend to fit in with other bloggers showing off their spring displays.

New introductions

The plants purchased last week are settling in really well.  The white Hellebore is looking regal amongst all the fresh green shoots in the border. This shady part of the garden needed something to brighten it up and I think this is really doing the job well. There are a few hours in the early morning when the sun peeks through the cottages and hits this part of the garden and the  flowers can be seen really well against the green backdrop.

 

Helleborus orientalis 'White Lady' from Hill House Nursery
Helleborus orientalis ‘White Lady’ from Hill House Nursery

 

Happy colour-matching accidents

Fresh pink shoots of a Rose emerging in spring
Fresh pink shoots of a Rose emerging in spring

 

The bright new shoots of this rose match the colour of my own hellebore seedling so they sit next to each other in the bed. It’s not a great photo of the rose.

 

Helleborus orientalis (my own hybrid)
Helleborus orientalis (my own hybrid)

 

Seedling update

Propagation continues quietly in the background; these Gypsophila seedlings are coming on well – it looks like I’ll have loads to find room for but they’ll come in useful for the wedding later in the year.

 

Gypsophila elegans seedlings germinating
Gypsophila elegans seedlings germinating

 

Cuttings ahoy!

I’ve moved some Phlox from the shady part of the garden up to the sunnier beds a few weeks ago. My plan is for a more muted palette nearer the house; whites and deep reds. I’m hoping it will start to look more refined and harmonious but time will tell. The brash fuschia-pink Phlox has been banished to what is starting to become a party bed. Having divided the plants I also took full advantage and made some cuttings as well.

 

Nepeta and Phlox cuttings
Nepeta and Phlox cuttings

 

Greenhouse Construction 1

Greenhouse Construction

Work has finally started on my Greenhouse Construction Project

And we’re off! After a hiatus while spending time doing things like wedding planning, taking a huge exam and other such distractions, work has finally commenced on the greenhouse (huzzah!)

The site of the greenhouse, the old wood store partially removed.
The site of the greenhouse, the old wood store partially removed.

There used to be a wood store sited next to the shed but it was next to useless. Despite it’s sheltered position there was no way of keeping the wood dry so it had to go. What you can see here is the vague layout of the eventual footprint of the structure and a roofless woodstore. The back wall of the woodstore will be the wall of the greenhouse.

As a site for a greenhouse it’s not ideal. It’s not in full sun for a lot of the day but it’s the only place in the garden where it won’t be intrusive. The best place for a greenhouse would be in the top garden but would mean losing our largest, sunniest bed adjacent to the patio where we eat in summer. Not ideal and quickly vetoed by the other half. The chosen site is under-used space nearer the house and if I can make the finished product look attractive I think it will do.  The next head-scratcher is what to do with the washing line.

How come I’ve finally started?

Tomatoes just showing true leaves.
Tomatoes just showing true leaves.

These are the reasons for all the haste. My tomato seedlings are just about ready to be planted on and with that comes a demand for space that I can’t give em at the moment. The chillies are behind in the photo and behind in terms of development. Interestingly these tomatoes from Real Seeds  have a dark red/purple hue to the undersides of the seed leaves and stems which I haven’t seen before and can just been seen in the picture. It’s very ornamental and I hope stays a feature of the mature plants.

Closer view of the windows sourced from Gumtree
Closer view of the windows sourced from Gumtree

Having cleared the area and spent a good deal of time scribbling on a pad, measuring things and generally trying my best to look like a real man, I have a finished plan and I’ve ordered the required building materials. Watch this space…

The Full Story

Construction Greenhouse: Part 1

Construction Greenhouse: Part 2

Construction Greenhouse: Part 3

Construction Greenhouse: Part 4

Chilli Challenge 2014: part 1

chilli challenge

Introduction to the Chilli Challenge

A while ago Southbourne Gardens started a topic on their own Chilli Challenge with an impressive selection of varieties being trialled this year. I’m going to attempt, on a smaller scale, to join in.

The contestants

I’ve restricted myself to just 1 hot chilli variety as space is limited and apparently they crop so profusely there’s a danger of drowning in the glut. Of course I’ve never had any success with chillies so can only dream of this level of success but perhaps 2014 is my year. I sourced them from the wonderful Real Seeds as they’re open pollinated and, I hope, more able to produce a crop in less than ideal conditions. I’ll also be able to save my own seeds for the 2015 chilli challenge. I have previously posted about Real Seeds here.

Also chosen is ‘Lemon Drop’ as I was intrigued by the description that there is a slight lemon tang to the flavour which is ideal as we love fajitas.

To finish the group I also got 2 types of sweet pepper.

Progress

Interestingly the chilli seedlings are slightly yellow on emerging. I don’t know if is because their fruits will be yellow or whether they just need some more light so they’re now out of the propagator and in a south facing window.

How is everyone else getting on?

Chilli seeds emerging
Chilli seeds emerging

UPDATE: See the full story 

Where we started: Chilli Challenge 2014: Part 1

Seeking some help: Chilli Challenge: Part 2 Reinforcements

Success: Chilli Challenge: Part 3 Flowers!

More posts about seeds:

Springing Up

Beans

Chinese Lanterns

RHS Seeds 2014

Totnes Seed Swap 2014

 

Germination

Germinating Tomato Seeds

Tomato Seedlings showing already after only 7 days

After only 7 days my tomato seedlings are up and away. I really need to get on with building the greenhouse then.