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i hate it when experts sow seeds with lots of grit or vermiculite and have lots of success.i use vermiculite but have had mixed results with astrantia,rudbeckia,Echinacea,scabious and miss wilmots ghost.

but i will percivier dag namit!


I think arid al is right about not too much care. hardy plants never need heat, they wouldn't get it naturally. They need sowing at the right time which is when they drop of the plant. Then leaving to get on with whatever it is they do for however many months they do it. Most will germinate when conditions are right.  

You can get caught out. I sowed a Clematis ladahkii (may not has spelled that right) last autumn, it must have germinated in a few days and I didn't notice, the leaves got frosted before I put it under cover and I thought it had had it. Come spring it's growing again and looks fine. 

Have just apparently succeeded with some hardwood(ish) cuttings of perovskia (Russian sage), to my slight surprise but pleasure, having stuck ten or eleven woody stems about 6" long — taken from pruning two existing plants about a couple of months ago — into a largish (c. 8") pot in the greenhouse and covered it with a plastic bag from the greengrocers, propped up tentpole-style by a stick in the middle. Watered well before I put the bag on then left to its own devices — bag was entirely unperforated so it's stayed damp in there, a proper little microclimate — and merely switched to a clean bag about three weeks ago when I saw the first signs of green through the condensation within. Removed this second bag altogether this week to allow the light and air in better now it's a good deal warmer, and gave it a proper water. Five stems are putting out good green growth, while the others have not done anything but I'm leaving them in place for now as know from experience that perovskia can suddenly surprise you just when you've decided it's dead wood! Managed to root three short stems in a small pot last year, but planted them out too soon and they got swamped by other things, so will leave these to grow on for a good while first seeing as they've got plenty of space. Curiously, only success I've had before is the happy accident that gave two current plants in the first place — inadvertently snapped a stem off the original while transplanting in summer four or five years ago after it got overcrowded in its previous site, and on the off chance just stuck this into the ground as it was and thought no more about it...and of course it rooted next to its parent and took off quite happily! It's amazing how many of the best results come from this sort of thing, or forgetting things entirely ‚ have just discovered that I have a small pot with a cutting of variegated aubretia in the greenhouse, which I've only identified in the past fortnight after it sprang into growth...

Other current successes include seed tray of 30 or so lavender prunings in the greenhouse, taken maybe a month ago and which I've just taken the clear plastic lid off as they all look to have rooted so could now benefit from a less actively humid environment. Got a good load of cuttings from same lavender ('Munstead') last year too without 'hothousing' them in this way, i.e. just in uncovered pots, but think these new ones have probably taken a little more readily with the extra humidity to start with. Planted some out with good success, while a dozen smaller ones were kept in greenhouse over winter and now potted up singly to grow on and give away in a couple of weeks' time.

Both last year and this have taken prunings from santolina (cotton lavender) at the same time as the lavender, start of April, and found they root readily as well in uncovered pots as not great fans of humidity at all. Used similarly small shoot tips to the lavender (maybe 2") last year, but this time am trying to get slightly larger santolina cuttings to root so selected some larger prunings, so have one small tray with nine cuttings about 3" high and another with half a dozen 4" ones. As these are woodier they're not rooting so fast, but showing signs of new growth so I'm reasonably happy so far. Last summer was able to make a nice border for newly laid out bed in sunnyish, dryish and wall-drained front garden, by planting out row of alternating lavender and santolina cuttings from that spring, which grew in together to make a rather lovely silver whole, and are putting on good new growth again now after cutting back a month ago.

Also on the silvery side, had three Plectranthus argentatus from my grandad the year before last, which isn't hardy enough to last the winter outdoors but which he always takes cuttings from in summer to keep

Err, seem to have waffled on too long and exceeded maximum post length! As I was saying, my grandad always takes cuttings from his plectranthus in summer to keep in the greenhouse for next year. Succeeded in keeping three such cuttings alive myself from first batch attempted last winter, which at least meant I ended up with same number as started with, but didn't plant out until fairly late summer so they didn't get going properly. Since they were still smallish though it did mean I could lift the same ones and shove them in a pit together back in the greenhouse, and they've made it through OK and have just been moved back outside in the same pot to enjoy some sun, rain and fresh air. Obviously are a bit leggier and woodier than new cuttings would have been, but the originals branched well from low down so I'm hopeful some new shoots will come and bush these out a bit if I plant them somewhere sunny soon.

On the other hand, tried taking internodal clematis cutting for first time in Feb, after newly hearing about the technique, which looked fine under bell cloche in pot in greenhouse for several weeks but then abruptly disintegrated last month. Also failed utterly to root cuttings from last year's osteospermums over winter, not to my total surprise I have to say. Took three cuttings from ornamental pink-flowered salvia last month, one of which has bitten the dust already and the other two are looking less than great, shall we say.

Have tried three times now with cornus (dogwood) hardwood cuttings from spring prunings; failed the first time as they got too dry in the soil, but last year accidentally left some for months in an old glass jar of water (they were meant to be keeping fresh 'for a while' to use as peasticks) and they rooted — planted them out later in summer, and they seemed to take but have not lasted this winter. Tried rooting more in water last year, but never got around to planting them and so they stayed there all winter in same glass container, on the ground down by the shed at bottom of garden, freezing solid on several occasions — and somehow eight or ten have come through this alive and I've now stuck them in a pot of compost at last to see how they come along!

Could do with taking cuttings from a leggy heather, but as steephill says it's tough to find non-flowering shoots... Have a small seed tray filled with a couple of dozen inch-high prunings from an alpine hebe that outgrew its tub and got planted out back in the late '90s, and is by now really rather leggy and flopping about over the path a bit, so would be nice to get some replacements going at last — it's one of my original alpines dating back to when I first established a half-barrel planter in 1994, aged 15, so I'm very keen to keep it going one way or the other. If LorraineP has any great tips for propogating hebe, I'd be glad to hear them...?

muddy mare

hi all very proud of my cape leaf cuttings all took got eleven lovely plantlets from one leaf


I bought a few Phorniums from a garden centre , They were massive and weighed a ton . Reduced to £8 from £30 . The rainbow warrier was split up into 5 big pieces . The green Wave was split into 3 it had been £20  down to£8 . Bought another lost label Phornium and split  it into 3 . They are all still big plants with massive leaves .

My first Phornium , P . Tennex we bought in Cornwal over 20 yrs ago ,  Split it up  straight away and gave some away,  

During the bad winter we had in2012   we thought we had lost them all . But we pulled out the soggy leaves and cut the remaining down to about 10 inches. That summer they allstarted sending new shoots up .I now have a selection of lovely phorniums.

For Hebe cuttings Take  heal cuttings , after dipping in rooting powder push several in a mixture of gritty compost . put in propergator or put a poly bag over . I usualy cut the leaves in half - just so I can keep a check on new growth . when new leaves have started to grow this is usualy a sign they are rooted . I leave mine outside in shadey area's. Some are quicker than others.

We had a lovely yellow rose in the front garden of our old house. When we knew we were moving, I decided to try taking some cuttings - I was advised by several people that the cuttings I was taking in September would not take. Chopped a length into four 6" lengths and popped them into a 9" tub with compost and a few handfuls of sand.

Anyhow, 1 year and a winter later two of the new plants are in sunny posisitions in our new house, 1 has gone to a friend and the last to the old chap up the road from where we used to live. He always used to stop and smell the roses, so I thought he'd like his own.

hollie hock wrote (see)

Cotty,I sowed my scabious seeds outdoors in a cold frame this year, not had a great germination rate, but here everything seems about a month behind where they were last year. I'm growing the annual types.

Quite a few of last year scabious, by some miracle made it through the winter, grew into tall plants with a lot of flowers and I did see butterflies on them

Good going on the ceanothus, Arid Al, the new jasmine plant sounds beautiful. How long did the berry take to germinate? I went to a garden last weekend and they had a beautiful jasmine, I smelt it long before I found it

Sorry for late reply! The berries were sown around May 2012 into a plastic pot with garden compost. This was kept on a sunny window sill & kept damp. If my memory is correct, then I think 3 shoots appeared in autumn, some time after I'd more or less forgotten about the project (I didn't believe it would work).

Since my last post, I was delighted to spot a 2nd plant, smaller than the one I'm training by the kitchen, looking small but very alive in the front garden...

I'd planted 2 of the 3 into my front border with a view to them training upwards into some decorative wrought iron which tops a small wall. One of them got assaulted by the local squirrel, & this one I'd given up on & forgotten about since it looked pretty ropey a month after planting. 

It goes to show that sometimes nature will find a way, & we forget that at best we're helpers & not masters of our gardens!


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