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Taking Root

March 27th, 2012

Some of you may have been around in the fall of 2010 when I talked about the boxwood cuttings I got from a friend’s home. I have no idea what kind of boxwood it is, but it’s a big beautiful shrub that thrives despite his neglect. Since it does so well in his garden, I figured it would be prefect for mine as well since we are in the same climate. Three years ago I took a dozen or so cuttings and stuck them in a pot that was overwintered behind the garage. Last summer I planted 2 of them flanking the stairs that lead to our front porch.

These box seem to be fairly slow growing, so I can only imagine how old the ones I took cuttings from are because they’re HUGE. No doubt they spent last summer taking root and this year they’ll really start putting off some top growth. They are about three times as big as they were when I first cut them.

If we end up moving, these little box will be potted up and taken with me. There’s simply too much history to leave them behind. There are also other plants that will go with me and some from which cutting will be taken this spring/summer in preparation for a possible move. All of my hydrangeas will move with me, my collection is now up to about 20 different varieties. Some will go by cuttings because they’re too large to dig up and take. Others are small enough that they can be dug up. I love starting plants with cuttings, it’s a great way to inexpensively propagate plants you already have in your garden and a great way to get starts from friends.

Do you like to propagate your own plants from cuttings?

If you’re not sure how to propagate plants with stem cuttings here’s a post I wrote a few years ago about it. Start with something easy like catmint and soon you’ll be off trying to propagate all kinds of plants.

13 Comments to “Taking Root”
  1. Kathi Cook on March 27, 2012 at 6:45 am

    I have heard lavender is easy to root, but haven’t done it yet. Once I accidentally rooted geraniums by throwing the “dead heads” behind a shrub near my porch. It rooted and grew into a new plant.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • Susy on March 27, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Too funny – the first plant I ever propagates was a hydrangea that I dug out of the compost pile. I pruned a few living branches in the fall and threw them in there over the winter. When I harvested the compost in spring I had a bunch of little hydrangeas. I’ve also done this with spirea and a few other things. Compost propagation could be the next big thing, must be something about the heat that helps.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Victoria on March 27, 2012 at 7:14 am

    You’re giving me ideas! I have a few boxwoods that would be happily pruned! Originally I was thinking transplant, but this might be a better option.

    Reply to Victoria's comment

  3. Donna B. on March 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I took your advice last year and did Catmint as well as some Mums. Sadly now I have Catmint and Mums that are threatening to take over a flowerbed! Time to dig up a new garden area~ hee hee.
    I *wish* I were better with propagation… I usually neglect basic treatment … Like forgetting to water them during the sweltering 80+ degrees. I lost a bunch of cuttings propagating in my portable greenhouse… ;_;
    [which reminds me that I forgot to turn off my seed starting light… I really should invest in a timer… /sigh]
    I love how you are going to take many of your plants with you – especially your hydrangea collection! This is the one thing stopping me from making any huge purchases, like with fruit trees and such… I have no clue when I’m going to move! I buy the rescues at garden centers. Twelve dollars bought me EIGHT plants, six are prarie natives and two are Baptisia [one blue, one yellow.] good buy, I believe!

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  4. Whit on March 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Your wee boxwoods are taking off!! Congratulations! Good luck with moving all your plants when you do move. I am so sorry you both are having to move so quickly–there’s already enough pressure involved in moving, but then when you feel your lifestyle being threatened by fracking corps. Arrrrgh!

    A couple weekends ago, we spent a Saturday digging out our favourites from our old house. In talking with a listing agent, apparently according to their “standards of appealing to the masses” any kinds of veggie gardens and fruiting shrubs are seen as liabilities from their prospective. If gardens are to be had, they want mums and violets. :(

    Sadly, an Italian Prune Plum tree and a blueberry were too big for my hubbers to lift, but you have giving me hope to propagate the blueberry. Maybe?

    We took one of my hydrangeas, 3 blueberries, 2 huckleberries, 2 lingonberries, a rosemary shrub, and our Pope John Paul II rosebush. Since we had been hoping to move for 5 years, we planted a lot of plants in pots, so things like strawberries, hardy herbs, and culinary lavender were easy to take.

    Good luck!!

    Reply to Whit's comment

    • Susy on March 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      I’ve propagated blueberries quite easily so you’re in luck with them.

      As far as veggie gardens & edibles not being popular, I’m not sure you listing agent is 100% correct. With the rise in popularity in edible gardening and more people getting into it each year I know a lot of people that would be highly interested in already having that in. You might just find the right person that sees it as a huge asset to your property!

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  5. Jennifer Krieger on March 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    We, too, will probably be moving within a year, and that is affecting my gardening. Anything that I can I’m putting in pots.
    I sympathize with your reasons for moving. As I look around the country for my “ideal” spot, I have to research what’s going on in the area so I don’t commit to a beautiful spot, only to be forced out like you are.

    Reply to Jennifer Krieger's comment

  6. Louise on March 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Susy,

    The rooted cutting in the picture looks like: Buxus Semervirens – English Boxwood.

    Reply to Louise's comment

    • Susy on March 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks Louise – proper English Box, I’ve always read that they’re not quite hardy here in our zone – but perhaps they are…

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Domestic Executive on March 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I have 100 box cuttings sitting in my cold frame in pots. Some days I get frustrated as how small they still are and then I turn around and look at their mother plants and remind myself that patience is a virtue I’m just going to have to practice a little more! There is nothing more satisfying that propagating seeds and cuttings. I’d be taking them with me too.

    Reply to Domestic Executive's comment

    • Susy on March 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Sounds like a beautiful hedge in the making. I’m hoping to get a bunch of starts off of some of the new box I got last year. I LOVE box hedges!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. judym on March 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I have cuttings from an aunt’s bush – she calledit a flowering plum. Whatever it is, it puts out roots and get budhy abd tall, has beautiful single petal blooms in the spring. The birds love it. Had one at the corner of our house. It became a beautiful screen for the back porch and a great haven year round for the birds.

    Currently have some coleus on my window sill cut from last year. When it’s warmer, it will go in the planter in the front yard. Have a willow bush I want to get cuttings from to plant along our creeks. They root well, just haven’t gotten them to take off yet – maybe impatience is a factor here!

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  9. KimH on March 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Yep, I enjoy taking & rooting cuttings occasionally. I needed a living privacy fence so a couple years ago, so I took a boatload of cuttings off a grape vine from my back yard and rooted them.. Most rooted & I planted them where I want them. The area is not quite as full/thick as I’d like it to be so I may wind up doing this several more times.

    In Texas I used to root tomatoes a lot.. The summers were too hot to actually grow tomatoes, so I’d bury the stems and by the time it started cooling off (haha.. thats a relative term) They’d be happy and growing like gang busters.

    I’ve got a gorgeous rose that I want to get some cuttings from.. It’ll be time soon..
    Mostly though, these days, Im just taking cuttings off house plants..

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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