We hear people use this word often when talking about new plants. Our grandmothers received most of her plants this way as friends traded. Patented plants can not be legally gotten this way. Aside from seeds this is our major reproduction method and there are different types such as stem, root, or leaves. Many of the plants we buy in the store are stem cuttings. Stems produce roots directly.

          Stem cuttings can be softwood, semi-ripe or hard wood. Softwood cuttings are a piece (usually a tip) of a young well developed branch, without a flower or bud to give the new to be roots all the energy they can get. I like to cut just below a leaf and then take the leaf off as its area will be in the soil.  Rooting hormones are easy to find in the garden centers. Roots can be started in many plants in water but when you lift them out they all flop together if you are not careful. Prepare your pots ahead with damp potting soil, dip the bare stem tips (3 to 5 inches) in rooting hormone. It is generally a white powder. To keep from knocking the hormone off I use a pencil to make a hole in the soil and gently put the stem in the hole, gently put the soil in close, then water enough to help soil close in on the stem.

          If it is a single stem or a very precious one, you can help it along by inverting a jar over the plant to keep the humidity high and then just wait for the roots to develop. Leave only a few leaves on your cutting so the new roots can supply them with water.

Copyright 2016





          One of my WATER LILY ponds has developed a slow leak and I have been wanting a “bog garden”! B.J. put the contents of the compost pile into the water that was left. By definition a bog is an area of soil that is water logged.

          I grew up in Colorado near a large bog filled with CATTAILS that held the nest of Red Winged Blackbirds above the water. Ron gave me a CATTAIL plant and it immediately started growing. I have heard they are aggressive. My new one already has two small babies who will grow to be 4 to 6 feet tall with long skinny leaves. The flower is a longish “tail”. Both male and female flowers are in the same tail. I see tails in dried winter bouquets. They will need to be sealed with lacquer to keep them intact.

          B.J. went plant hunting to see what else was available. He found a bog WATER LILY with red leaves in a clump about 18 inches across. So far no blooms. The tallest plant he found is the CYPERUS. This summer it was over 7 feet all with many huge flowering heads that are in a whorl of 10  to 15 bracts about 2 feet across. This is the plant from which the first paper was developed-Papyrus.

          CALTHA, or MARSH MARIGOLD, or KINGS CUP is a spreading, short (about 12 inches) plant with yellow blooms. It is listed as hardy in zones 3-7. Several of my others are not hardy here in Nebraska. The one original plant is now about 18 inches across, with the flowers only 1-2 inches across.

          HORSETAIL (Equisetum) is a jointed stem plant we used to make into necklaces as it can be pulled apart at any of the joints and put back in place. In the bog in Colorado it was invasive. There is a tall one (to 4 feet) that is hardy in zones 3-11 and a dwarf (6 – 12 inches) that is hardy in zones 5-11.