If you haven’t been fortunate enough to save any True To Type seeds, i.e seeds that haven’t been open pollinated, then there is another way you can grow your favourite plants and know they are going to grow true,…. Providing of course, that the original seeds you used to grow the plant were true.
The way to do this, is by taking cuttings from the plant….. otherwise known as Cloning.
Next take your cutting and remove any large leaves, buds and flowers…..we want the cutting to concentrate on growing roots, not producing anything else at this stage.
And make an oblique cut,above the shoulder about the middle of the cutting.
Now…when trying to grow new roots on a cutting, most advice tells us to use a rooting hormone, this gives the cutting a helping hand to grow new roots and avoid bacteria from entering the cut stem.
I use honey…. Seriously ! Honey is a natural antiseptic and a potent hygroscopic(water absorbing) material with medical uses going back many thousands of years. These two factors mainly the antibiotic properties though are the reason honey works as a rooting agent. Some also say that the natural sugar in the honey helps give the cutting a burst of energy.If you don’t feel comfortable using honey, then by all means use a commercial rooting hormone.
You can now place the cutting into the growing medium of your choice. The most popular are soil or Rockwool cubes, I have had success with both. It’s wise to make a hole in your chosen medium, large enough to take the cutting, without wiping off the honey/rooting hormone….and insert the cutting, clearly marking the plant name.
The cutting now needs to be placed in a humid atmosphere…as there are no roots yet, it will absorb moisture through the few remaining leaves, DO NOT let the medium dry out, keep it moist. You can cover the top of the pot with a clear plastic bag and elastic band…or place in a propogator with a clear lid. hopefully, within a couple of weeks your cutting will have produced new roots, and you should see signs of growth.
You can also place cuttings straight into a glass of water, and they sometimes grow new roots this way, however…this method has not been as successful for me. A little tip, place an aspirin in the water instead of using a rooting hormone.
Whichever method you use, have fun doing it…and if they all fail,it hasn’t cost you anything but your time, and keep trying. If you get a few plants from your cuttings…give yourself a pat on the back, and well done !