A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Friday, January 13, 2006

Plant Propogation

Last week and this week, the Master Gardener classes have been held at the floriculture greenhouses at Cook College. I had already worked in these greenhouses last November transplanting cuttings for Rutgers Gardens. As promised, I brought treats for Bea, the greenhouse cat. She caught on very quickly. As soon as she heard my voice this week, she popped her head around a corner and gave me a look that plainly said, "Any treats?". She was even brave enough to come into the classroom during the lecture, hopped up on the counter where I had fed her treats last week and then was rudely whisked out of the room because one of my classmates has a phobia about cats. I did try to lure Bea out with a trail of treats, but she was too smart to fall for that and I finally had to pick her up and carry her out of the room. I gave her that treat she was looking for and hope that she will forgive me.

The lecture last week was on plant propogation. It covered seeds, cuttings, division and various grafting techniques. Then came the fun part. We got to plant some seeds and root some cuttings. I chose to plant phlox and nicotiana seeds. When I checked my tray this week, the phlox had begun to germinate. I don't expect anything from the nicotiana. I was so busy trying to master the planting technique we had been taught that I forgot to read the seed packet first. Nicotiana should be seeded on the surface. I tried to "unbury" the seeds, but they are like dust so I have no idea how successful I was.

We were allowed to choose plants from the greenhouse from which to take cuttings. The coleus and scented geraniums that my fellow students found so attractive did absolutely nothing for me. I couldn't generate any enthusiasm until the lecturer brought in jade tree cuttings.

I have somehow managed to keep a jade tree alive for a few years now. On the tour of the greenhouses last week, I asked about the wonderful specimans I saw. They were huge plants in tiny pots and bone dry. There were two obvious mistakes right there! I always kill my houseplants with kindess. What I found most amazing was the variety. I had no idea that there were different kinds of jade trees. So you can imagine my excitement when I realized I could root and keep these new (to me) plants! I have placed them in the same sunny window that my current jade tree enjoys. After a week, they have perked up and I have high hopes that they will make it.

So . . . allow me to introduce my new plants . . .



The first one is variegated and the leaves are longer and narrower than "regular" jade trees. Yes, I know it looks like I buried it, but I didn't really. The potting medium keeps oozing all over it when I water it. I tried brushing it off but all that I accomplished was to break off one of the leaves.

This is my favorite one . . .

The leaves are tubular! Isn't that the coolest thing you've ever seen? It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. I have to keep resisting the temptation to overwater them.

And would you believe we still haven't gotten the results of our midterms yet?



7 Comments:

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I like the variegated one. I think my kids would like the tubular one, though. Looks like something out of Dr. Seuss. Keep your eye out for a container with character for that one.

 
At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Judith said...

What great progress you are making as a master gardener. Whenever I am volunteering in the greenhouse & there is a cat, I always make friends with it. Every greenhouse needs a cat! I like the tubular plant too--it looks so different. It is hard not to overwater these things, isn't it? Water = tender loving care which you want to give & give...

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

I really like that last jade tree. Fascinating.

I did plant propagation in my plant science class. I got everything to take, but killed most of them shortly after getting them home.

 
At 12:54 AM, Blogger AnneBrygger said...

Neat jade plants! If you constantly overwater them, try self-watering pots, and don't fill them up until the the water level has dropped a bit. I've got a jade plant growing in EZ-soil (comes in a wafer--it's the only thing light enought to ship to Barrow affordably) in a Gardeners' Supply 16" self-watering pot. It's about 2.5' high and about 3' wide now and I bought it in the grocery store in a 4" pot. If pieces fall off (and they do) they tend to self-root in the pot. I've also picked them off the floor and stuffed them in the soil in a self-watering window box I'm using to propagate some snake plant and they grow there too. You really don't need to water until the leaves start to shrink or the stems get a bit droopy.

 
At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I want to know is HOW you did it? Did you just bring home the cuttings straight from the original plant and stick them in soil or had they already been in water and grown some roots or did YOU have to do that first? Eagerly waiting your response! Just found your blog, cool, will check it out, I'd LOVE to take a master gardening course, wow. Good job!

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

My father and I just got some succulents to propagate from my Grandpa. He just loves them and every time we visit he gives us some. This time we got one that must be a Jade Tree because it looks just like the tubular version you have pictured. When I first saw it I thought how cool and unique it is. Hopefully if they do well we will have some for sale next year (check us out at www.milewidenursery.com ) But I love the idea of putting a cool plant in a cool pot! (Kathy), adds real character to any windowsill.

Oh, by the way I have to agree cats in a greenhouse are a definite must...we have two!

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Elliott Broidy said...

I need to get my gardens going. It's the perfect time of year now.

 

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