Home gardeners need not say goodbye to some of their favorite annual plants simply because the warm summer weather is over. Park Seed Company reminds gardeners that it is easy to take cuttings from such annuals as Pelargonium, Begonia, and Coleus to root indoors in winter and enjoy next year outdoors.
"Many plants grown as annuals can be propagated easily at home by cutting and rooting the stems," explains Ginger Long, Park Seed's Brand Manager. "Tender and tropical plants flourish for years in frost-free conditions, and will readily regrow from cuttings."
The process of taking cuttings and rooting them into new plants is not difficult and requires no special equipment, according to Long. Using clean garden shears, simply cut about 6 inches from the tip of a stem. Remove the leaves and any flowers from the base of the stem, and plunge the cut end into a small pot filled with potting soil or vermiculite. If an all-in-one enclosed seed starter such as Park's Bio Dome is available, all the better.
Once the cutting has been "planted" into the pot or seed starter, cover it with a dome or plastic bag, to increase the humidity available to the plant. Keep the soil moist from the base, but do not let it get too soggy. Gardeners will know the stem is rooted when a gentle tug meets resistance. The humidity dome or bag can then be removed, and the plant can be watered normally, placed in light, and cared for until transplant in spring.
Pelargoniums (annual Geraniums) are among the easiest and most popular plants to root from cuttings. They grow well indoors during winter, and look more substantial with mature, thicker rooted stems. Pelargonium seeds can be relatively expensive, so making new plants from old is a great way to increase stock without investing in new seeds.
Rex Begonia is another easy annual to grow from cuttings. Seeds of this plant can take a long time to germinate, so many gardeners prefer to work from cuttings.
"Geranium Maverick Scarlet is the classic red flower everyone wants," Park Seed's Long explains, "and the new Begonia boliviensis cultivars like San Francisco are bestsellers. Both of these plants are super easy to cut and root."
Coleus, on the other hand, grows readily from seed, but there are so many new varieties on the market each year that gardeners who have an old favorite might want to propagate it themselves rather than risk seed becoming unavailable. "Coleus Giant Exhibition is a series reselected from heirloom Victorian varieties," says Long. "Everyone loves their looks, and wants to keep these heritage plants going strong as long as possible!"
Rooting cuttings at home can save gardeners money and preserve their favorite annual varieties for seasons to come.
About Park Seed Company
Founded in 1868, Park Seed is one of America's oldest and most beloved mail-order seed and plant companies for home gardeners and wholesale nurseries. Operated by the Park family until the early 2000's, it is now under the aegis of JPPA, Inc. Park Seed's philosophy, as stated by founder George W. Park, has guided our business for generations: "Your success and pleasure are more to Park than your money."