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Propagating plants from cuttings

Propagating plants from cuttings allows you to increase your supply of a special perennial, shrub, or tree already in your garden, or to start plants from a friend’s garden. Unlike most plants raised from seed, those grown from cuttings are identical to the parent plant. Cuttings taken from the stems of plants are of three types, depending on the maturity of the parent plant: softwood, semihardwood, and hardwood. Some kinds of plants can also be started from leaf or root cuttings.

LEAF CUTTINGS

Some plants will root successfully from a leaf or a portion of one; examples include rex begonia, African violet (Saintpaulia), and mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria). Follow the techniques described below.

Rex begonias are propagated by making cuts in the large veins on the underside of mature leaves. Lay the leaf flat, cut side down, on the rooting medium; then enclose the container in a plastic bag. In time, new plants will grow at the point where each vein was cut.

To root leaf cuttings of African violets, insert a young leaf with an inch or two of stem into a rooting medium made of 1 part peat moss and 1 part vermiculite, perlite, or coarse builder’s sand. Enclose the container in a plastic bag to retain humidity. New plants form at the base of the stem.

To root leaf cuttings of mother-in-law’s tongue, cut a leaf into 3- to 4-inch-long sections. Insert these pieces into the rooting medium, covering as much as three-fourths of their length. A new plant will eventually form at the base of each piece.

Related: Propagate succulents

SOFTWOOD AND SEMIHARDWOOD STEM CUTTINGS

Taken during the active growing season from spring until late summer, softwood cuttings are the easiest stem cuttings to take and the fastest to root. They come from relatively soft, flexible new growth. Many perennials, shrubs, and trees can be propagated by softwood cuttings, including coleus, forsythia, crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia), geranium (Pelargonium), penstemon, mock orange (Philadelphus), plum, pomegranate, rose, and weigela (to name just a few). Semihardwood cuttings are taken somewhat later in the growing season, usually in summer or early autumn. A semihardwood stem is firm enough to snap if bent sharply; if it just bends, it’s too mature for satisfactory rooting. Among the plants that can be propagated from semihardwood cuttings are boxwood (Buxus), camellia, citrus, escallonia, euonymus, holly (Ilex), olive, and rhododendron.

The procedure for rooting these two types of stem cuttings is the same.

Step-by-step instructions: Rooting softwood and semihardwood cuttings

HARDWOOD CUTTINGS

You make hardwood cuttings in autumn or early winter, when plants are dormant. Many deciduous shrubs and trees can be propagated by this method, including most of those mentioned above under softwood and semihardwood cuttings; other candidates include currant, fig, gooseberry, grape, privet (Ligustrum), mulberry (Morus), quince, and spiraea.

Step-by-step instructions: Rooting hardwood cuttings

ROOT CUTTINGS

Any plant that produces sprouts from its roots will grow from root cuttings. Some examples are bear’s breech (Acanthus), Japanese anemone, blackberry, trumpet vine (Campsis), globe thistle (Echinops), Oriental poppy (Papaver), and raspberry.

Make root cuttings when the plant is dormant ― in late fall or early winter, for most species. You can dig up an entire plant or just a section of its roots. With a sharp knife, remove vigorous, healthy pieces of root 2 to 4 inches long; those growing close to the crown will form new plants most quickly. (Note that rooting hormone is not needed, and in fact may actually delay rooting.) If you only have a few root cuttings, you can place them upright in a container filled with damp potting mix, with the top cut ends (the ends that were closest to the crown on the parent plant) just at soil level. For larger numbers of cuttings, fill a flat to within an inch of the top with potting mix; lay the cuttings flat on top of the mix, then cover them with 1/2 inch more mix.

Water the planted containers well. Then place them in a growing area such as a greenhouse or cold frame and provide protection from direct sun. Once stems and green leaves have formed, move the containers into full light and water them as needed. When the young shoots are several inches tall and new roots have formed (check by gently digging up a cutting), transplant them to individual pots and feed with liquid fertilizer.


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Colorful Finds From the Curated, Best-Of-Amazon Site Canopy

Feeling blue (or green, or red)? Today, we’re shopping the spectrum of hues from Canopy, the site that curates stylish finds from Amazon’s enormous catalog. Check out what we’ve come up with:

If you haven’t heard of Canopy, think of it as a shopping experience that mixes the ease of Amazon, the visual aspect of Pinterest, and the connectivity of social media, all in one. If you’ve ever found yourself getting lost in the virtual aisles of Amazon much like you do in the real life aisles of Target, Canopy puts all the gorgeous stuff right there in a feed for your browsing pleasure.

Here’s how it works: After creating a profile on Canopy, users create collections of their favorite finds or check out other user’s collections. Canopy links direct you back to Amazon, so if you’ve got Amazon Prime, you’re all set to get your curated finds in the blink of an eye.

With bright colors in mind, we’ve browsed Canopy user’s favorite things and collected them here. Take a look and then head over to Canopy to explore for yourself!

Red

From trash cans to speakers and from vases to chairsCanopy has every room of your home covered when it comes to the color red. We’re loving all of the bright and bold choices!


Green

Whether you’re looking for something green and trendy like this swing arm lamp or something a bit more goofy like the leafkeeper cable ties for your abode, Canopy has something for you.


Blue

Looking for a little tranquility for your space? Canopy has something for you in blue for every room of your house from a powder blue teapot for your kitchen to a charming bathroom accessory kit for your bathroom.


Rainbow

If you’re looking for something a bit more colorful, bright, and fun, check out the many multicolored offerings found on Canopy. Cover your tables, walls, and yourself with finds like Karlsson Slices clock or the comfy blanket from Woolrich.

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This Weekend: A Brand New Bedroom For Zero Dollars

Many good things in life take time and money, but every now and then you can cut some corners and take a few minutes to improve a room in your home without a significant investment. This weekend, make your bedroom a better place with these easy (and completely free!) changes.

This Weekend’s Assignment:

Clear Your Nightstand(s): Is your bedside table functional, or is it bogged down by used earplugs, loose change, unread books, and half empty glasses of water? Take everything off the surfaces, dust the top, and only then put back the things that you actually use. Use a tray or small boxes to rein in the smaller stuff.

Ditch What You Don’t Need: Take a quick look around and identify what doesn’t belong in your bedroom. Bags with clothes that need to be returned? Put them in the car so you don’t forget them next time. A full suitcase from last month’s last trip? Empty it and put it back in the hallway closet. The exercise bike you never ever ever use? Sell that sucker on Craigslist. Whatever it is, return it to its rightful place elsewhere in the house, or get rid of it, and make your bedroom a stress-free, clutter-free zone again.

Wash & Change Your Bedding: Don’t just change the sheets. Wash the shams and actual pillows too. When you’re done, put on a fresh duvet cover, or swap out the down comforter for a lighter blanket for spring. If you’re feeling extra frisky, use those special linens that you bought ages ago, but haven’t had to nerve to actually use yet.

Remember, as with all of our Weekend Projects, just do what you have the time and energy to do. This is a marathon, not a sprint!

  • Help motivate others by letting the rest of us know how things are going! Share your tips and photos of your Weekend Project work on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ATweekendproject.
  • Download our April Home Checklist. It’s a free, downloadable, low-pressure list of things to try this month if you want to keep your life and home running like a well-oiled machine. Pick and choose what and how much you want to tackle, and have the satisfaction of crossing them off the list!

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