How to Root Cuttings
It’s easy to root cuttings of azaleas, rhododendrons, crape myrtle and other woody plants!
Take cuttings that are about six inches long — this month is a good time. Strip the leaves off the bottom two inches of the stems and dip them in a rooting hormone. Plant the base of each cutting in moist potting mix or peat moss in small pots. More cuttings can go in larger pots if you prefer — a one gallon pot can hold 6 to 8 cuttings. Enclose in a clear plastic bag. This creates a “mini greenhouse” for the cuttings and holds in warmth and moisture as they root. Cover each pot loosely so that the plastic bag does not cling to the cuttings.
Place the cuttings in a shady area out of direct sunlight. Check soil moisture about once a week as the cuttings root. One “secret” to successful rooting is to keep the soil moist but not overly wet. In about eight weeks you can test the cuttings by gently tugging on them to see if they have rooted. Once they have rooted, remove the plastic bag and keep the cuttings in a shady area for another month. At this time, you can gradually acclimate them to full sun, and then transplant them to their own pot or to the garden. They’ll benefit from several light feedings during summer. A two inch mulch will help hold in moisture. Be sure to use a water-soluble fertilizer.
Caring for potted herbs and flowering plants
For the most part, winter seems to be over. Almost all plants have broken dormancy and would benefit from a good dose of fertilizer to get them going and growing for the summer. Be sure to use a complete fertilizer like fish emulsion or Miracle Grow. Follow directions on the label. If your pansies have over-wintered and are beginning to bloom, they should be fed weekly until late May when the heat will cause them to cease blooming. Keep them watered and in the shade and they might bloom again in autumn.
It’s time to…
… add new trees or shrubs to the landscape. By planting in late April or early May, you’ll give the plants time to develop a sturdy root system. Also, this is an ideal time to plant rosemary, lavender, sage, chives and parsley. Either add 6 inch plants to larger containers or add them to the herb garden or flower beds. Prepare the planting holes, fill the holes with water, allow it drain, and then plant the herbs. Never add small plants to dry soil. Don’t fertilize at this time. Allow the plants to become acclimated to their surroundings before giving them plant food.
The Back Door Five
The five most often used herbs for cooking are basil, oregano, cilantro, dill and chives. Plant these close enough so you can dash out, snip what you need and dash back inside to toss them into sauces or salads at the last minute. No back door? Use a sunny window sill instead. Works just as well.
Try planting a new herb or tomato variety this year. Create colorful dish gardens filled with gourmet lettuces and edible flowers. Limited space? Think hanging baskets or plant stands and hangers.
Seed packets often contain more seeds than you need. Why not host a seed swapping get-together with friends and neighbors? Coffee, tea, light refreshments… and zip lock bags and labels. Think of the fun and all the different seeds you’ll take home !
All the Best from MMH…
~ Meadow Walker and Azul