Many people would like to do a beautiful job of landscaping their yards. No doubt about it landscaping is expensive. Even small shrubs can add up quickly. If you think about it the cost is not so exorbitant when you consider what goes into growing a shrub, shipping a shrub, and then getting a shrub to the garden center for sale. There are a lot of steps and expense along the way not to mention that you will have some loss that will have to be covered by the remaining plants that get sold. This along with all the associated cost of doing business is what determines the price of the plant.
There is a way that a lot of that cost can be eliminated
and you can grow the plants you want for almost no cost and just a little bit of work. I know that this may sound like you need a lot of knowledge or a greenhouse or other equipment. The fact is that average person can learn to propagate plants with almost no expense at all. Most shrubs can be grown by taking six inch cuttings and dipping them in a rooting hormone then placing them in potting mix and waiting for mother nature to take her course. It seems pretty simple huh? Well it is almost that simple I will describe the process below.
You will need to build a rooting chamber for the cuttings to get started in but it is easy and not too expensive. You will need 4 things to get started all can be picked up at your local discount store very inexpensively.
A clear storage bin
A 4″ to 6″ deep dishpan that the storage bin can sit in when turned upside down to make like a dome top.
One can of white spray paint.
A roll of masking tape 1″ wide.
To get started you will need to turn the plastic dishpan upside down and drill drain holes in the bottom make sure you drill enough over the entire surface area to allow water to drain out of the course sand. Fill the bin with course sand and set aside.
Next step is to take the clear storage container remove the lid and turn it upside down. Measure every 3″ on center and run a strip of masking tape length wise across the bottom of the container. Depending on the size of the container you will end up with 4 5 or 6 strips. Now with the container still upside down run one strip of masking tape around all four sides at the bottom of the container which is facing you. Now simply spray paint the whole out side of the box with the white spray paint. Once it is dry remove the masking tape and you will have a 1′ wide clear band around the bottom of the box and 4 5 or 6 clear stripes on the bottom. These clear sections will allow just the right amount of light in the box for rooting the cuttings and you will be able to see the condensation on the box without removing it. That it your done and you now have a rooting chamber.
There are 3 different times in the season that you can take cuttings there is late spring this is refereed to as softwood cuttings. Usually taken from the new growth at the end of branches about six weeks after the plants leaf out in the spring. As the growing season goes on the wood starts to get harder and is known a semi hardwood cuttings usually taken in the middle of summer. At the end of the growing season the wood is turned hard and so it is known as hardwood cuttings. These are taken in late fall early winter after a hard freeze.
For the average gardener the type of cuttings with the best success rates are semi hardwood
cuttings so here is how to do it.
For semi hardwood cuttings
Take cuttings 4″ to 5″ tong from the tip of the branch strip the leaves off the lower two thirds of the cutting, leaving just a stem and a few leaves at the top. Dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone and stick it in the sand about three quarters of it’s length.Once your cuttings are all in moisten the sand and place the top on the chamber. Place the chamber out doors in and area that is semi shady. Check the chamber daily to make sure that the sand stays moist. In about 4 to 6 weeks the cuttings will be rooted and can be removed and potted up to grow to the size you want for planting in the yard.
Rooting hormone is available at most plant nurseries and garden center. Just follow the label direction for best results.