December ambitions

The plants in the greenhouse are more ambitious than I am. If I possibly could, I would spend the short, dark days of December curled up on the couch. But our plants are making use of what little sunlight is on offer, along with the eternal-spring (relative) warmth of supplemental radiant heat, and actually growing. Go figure. The cuttings we took in September are well-branched and blooming. The ones we took in October and potted up last month have produced three or more sets of leaves. And now they all need pinching to keep their focus on growing more than flowering. And there’s no way I can cut these plants back without turning those beautiful tips into more cuttings. They get full credit for keeping me off the couch.

Taking cuttings of our cuttings is on the list of to-dos every December despite the fact that low light and lower temperatures will make them take longer to root. Some of them might not make it. But from the ones that do, we’ll take more cuttings in the spring. That way, as the plants we already made grow and become pot stressed and unhappy, we’ll have a rotation of fresh plants to take their place if need be. (Though we do often plant even the oldest, woodiest, worst looking plants because they take off like the picture of health once they go in the ground.)

But I can’t let myself go crazy propagating because space is tight in the greenhouse and we don’t need more of everything. We also don’t altogether know what we’ll need because we only have ideas about next year’s gardens so far, not actual plans. That’s for January. I’m confident that we will always plant as many African blue basils as we have, whether it’s a tray-full or 10 trays-full, and Gail and I are both smitten with a new-to-us Salvia called ‘Wendy’s Wish’. (More about that one when I do top 12 for 2012 post.) We also always make a few more heliotrope and assorted cuphea over the course of the winter, but I had to restrain myself from sticking every perfect cutting I pinched. A tray-full will do until we know where we’ll use them next season and how many we’ll ultimately need.

Are you feeling as ambitious as I am this December? Did you take cuttings this fall? Have you been taking cuttings of those cuttings or will you wait until spring?

 

3 thoughts on “December ambitions

  1. I’ve never done mass cutting production; just the odd bits here and there. I’m trying to get my seed-starting legs under me first. Besides, cuttings=greenhouse in my mind’s eye, and I don’t have one yet.

    Someday.

    Susan, Odd bits here and there is all I have room for at home too since I don’t have a greenhouse “yet” either. And like seeds, cuttings can be a slippery slope, taking up valuable windowsill realestate. (I hope you get that greenhouse sooner than “someday”! ) -kris

  2. I’ve taken cuttings of pelargonium and plectranthus. Haven’t cut back fuchsias yet, but when I do, I’ll take tip cuttings. Have resisted taking brugmansia cuttings; I just cut back the four potted plants to their “trunks” and moved them into our little greenhouse. Next year, I’ll try to remember to take basil cuttings. Thanks for that idea! Cheers!

    Debby, most basils are probably best (easiest) grown from seed but the African blue is a hybrid that won’t come true from seed. Good thing it roots so easily! We’d be bereft without it. -kris

  3. Forgot to say: I’ve never tried taking cuttings of cuttings. Will keep it in mind. Thanks!

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