Have a bunch of bare spots in the garden that need to be filled in without breaking the bank? Clone new plants from the ones you already have!
In my case, I own 10 acres and love to collect and design with all kinds of plants. Specifically, there was one area in close proximity to our driveway that I really needed to redesign. It was wild woods with only thatch and vines and oak trees with one azalea. It is a pretty large area so I figured it would be cheapest to take cuttings of plants I already have. Since my momma spider plant had TONS OF BABIES (à la Charlotte) and I saved a bunch of coleus from the winter freeze, I decided on a red and chartreuse theme. Here I have begonias, bromeliads, coleus, spider plants, cast iron plants and gingers as well as an azalea, camellias, a lady palm and an oak leaf hydrangea. Most of the plants rooted so readily, it inspired me to propagate even more!
It’s funny. Joe and I visited the home of friends in Atlanta. As we were leaving, I asked if I could take a couple of cuttings from her mahonia. She asked me what I was going to do with them and I told her, “I’m going to pot them and make new plants.” She and her husband were amazed that growing new plants could be that easy.
Several of these I just break a piece off and stick in the ground. You don’t even need rooting hormone! Others, you divide by digging up a section that either contains the roots or the bulb (or whatever) and just plant them in another place of similar or better conditions. Of course, you have to mulch and water them and make sure you place them in the proper lighting.
Many ground covers like perennial peanut, english ivy, mexican petunia and wedelia (invasive but I love it!) are really easy to spread around. Another plant I like to dig up and relocate somewhere else is spreading chenille. And bulbs like crinum lily and agapanthas as well as bromeliads, aloes, succulents and agaves are super simple to dig up and divide. Vines are another easy-peazy propagators like blue sky vine, jasmine, climbing philodendrons, bleeding heart and wandering jew. Even herbs and edibles like rosemary, lemongrass, basil, and sunchokes are easily replicated.
Winged elm trees are a snap to take a cutting and grow. Sweet viburnum, rubber tree ficus, sweet almond bush, pentas, abelia, night blooming jessamine, loropetalum, copperleaf plant, lantana and turk’s cap can be cut and stuck in the ground to grow a huge bush with little fuss. One last fabulous plant is pagoda flower that I dig up from the roots and replant in morning sun with afternoon shade… it’s a very quick spreader and looks fabulous as it glows in the morning sunlight!
Here are my top 10 plants that are easily propagated:
#10 ti plants
These do not like freezes… so what I did was cut the eight or so I had into about 30 pieces, dividing them at nodes. Then I put them in dirt in a pot and placed them in my greenhouse during cold spells. Wouldn’t you know, even with neglect, most of them rooted. I just planted them outside once all danger of frost had passed. Yup, you read correctly. Just cut the tops off and stick them in the ground. What’s even better is that your ti plant will grow two more shoots at the cut and become fuller than ever.
Although these are slow growers, they root extremely readily. Just take off an area of new growth 6-8 inches long, dip in rooting hormone, and plunk in a pot with potting soil. Moisten and keep in the shade. It will root in no time and can be place in the ground fairly quickly after that.
These root easily. Sometimes I cut the leaves in half while they root in. I tend not to do the whole plastic bag over the top with a rubber band for moisture control. Oftentimes, it is not necessary as long as you keep the cutting moist.
This formosa is actually a miracle plant. i have so many babies around the woods that i “set and forget.” I literally cut a new growth branch and stick it in the ground in the shade. I do check on them to make sure an armadillo didn’t knock them over and to make sure they get watered regularly… after that, they’re on their own in all their glory! I had one bloom a few months after I propagated it! It was such a little trooper.
#6 impatiens and begonias
Here are more miracle plants that propagate by cutting and sticking in it in soil and keeping it moist. That’s it.
Firespike also likes the shade. I have the momma plant out in the hot sun and she withers without daily watering during those sweltering summer days. I may have to move her. Her babies, however, I have placed in shady spots with dappled sun and they are very happy. I literally just cut the top off a stem and stick it in the ground. This plant gets very thirsty while it’s rooting so I make sure to check on it a couple times a day if it has not rained until it is established.
#4 blue daze
Blue daze is another easy plant to propagate. Just set it and forget it!
Coleus loves to be pinched back so that it grows fuller. If you don’t propagate cuttings, it starts to look leggy and tired. To resolve that, break off pieces at nodes and stick them in the ground right next to the momma plant (or somewhere else). This plant is so not finicky. I have them in part sun and shade but they prefer dappled sun in the woods. They do like a lot of water, so oblige them until they are established and check on them during dry spells after that.
#2 spider plant
I am constantly popping baby spider plants off my momma plants. I check to make sure they have little rootlets first. Sometimes they don’t and that’s okay too. I just baby those a little more by planting them in pots with good soil. However, if they have even the smallest roots appearing, I stick them right in the sand and keep them watered until established.
#1 peacock ginger
These spread so well they just multiply on their own. All you have to do is dig up a section and plant it somewhere else… as long as it’s in the shade. I water mine well the first couple of weeks but that may not even be necessary unless you see they need it. Then the babies spread so quickly, they make a beautiful carpet of marbleized leaves with iridescent purple blooms. They are super carefree and very gorgeous! Just don’t put them in the sun.
And for an extra added bonus, we can’t forget frangipani!
Frangipani or plumeria can be cut in the spring. Make sure it is 12-inches and remove all of the leaves. The wound on the cutting must heal for a few days so that it dries up. Then, stick it in good potting soil and immediately water well. Put it in the shade and try not to water it until the soil is dry. Within a year it should bloom. If you have a large tree, you can take several cuttings and clone your favorites with ease!
When purchasing a tree, you can tell it has bloomed if it branches.
I put mine in pots and store in the greenhouse when temps drop below 40.
Here are a few of the honorable mentions that anyone can grow, even if you don’t have a green thumb!