It’s the last week of October, and despite the early snow we received last week, the month is ending in a big way. I hope you enjoyed this past weekend in the warm, dry weather as you joined me in finishing the yard work.
I planted garlic and emptied the last few pots: herb planters with basil, parsley, and mint mojito. I harvested whatever was left before it was discarded. I also cut mint cuttings that I had rooting in water. This plant will join rosemary and Bay Laurel already blooming in my sunny kitchen window.
You may remember a few weeks ago that I talked about bringing two plants from outside to try my hand at growing them indoors for the winter. I’ve been very successful with my deep red Rio Dipladenia. However, the bright yellow Mandevilla vine did not bloom. Aphids appeared on the new growth and flower petals appeared. I turned the plant outside and sprayed it with End All. Two days later, yellow spots appeared on the leaves and began to fall off.
Last weekend, I took a few cuttings from the new healthy growth and took the main plant to the compost pile. Hope root mind. Fortunately, there is no evidence of aphids on any other plant. I was wise enough to keep my yellow Mandevilla isolated from my main plant group.
A tip for successful root cuttings is to use a solid container of water instead of clear glass. The roots usually grow underground due to sunlight. I have always found root cuttings best when out in the sun. Also, be sure to change the water regularly. This will provide the roots with oxygen and help ward off rot.
When preparing the cuttings for rooting, be sure to peel off any leaves that will meet the water. Again, this will help prevent rotting. Roots will grow from the nodes where the leaves were removed. I also cut any stem below the first leaf joint. For most plants, no roots will grow on that part of the stem.
Once healthy white roots begin to grow from the stems, place the plant in new potting soil. My mint clippings are starting to grow and are a bit skinny. I compacted the new growth in half to help the plant grow. The pieces you pinched when you were on your morning smoothie.
If you’ve brought in plants from outside and find that the new growth is tall and tall, feel free to squeeze it in. Pinching always stimulates new growth. Another option might be to take the stem cuttings to root and get rid of the main plant. My mom used to do this every fall and winter with geraniums, coleus, and fibrous begonias. Sometimes she would hold the mother plant if she was not too hardy, and she had enough space.
My love for growing originated with my mom who fills the house with foliage and flowering plants. Every Easter mom will include a small plant in her Easter baskets. When we bought our house from my parents, I inherited some huge plants that they couldn’t move into their new apartment. My parents passed away now years ago, but I still grow a few of my mom’s favorite indoor plants: Rabbit’s Foot Fern and Sansevieria.
Do you grow plants that have sentimental value? It is very rewarding to tell the story of the history of the plant to children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, my grandchildren never knew my father, but because we live in the house I grew up in, I can still share stories with them. I still have some perennials that my mom had. I also told them the story of my father collecting red oak seedlings from the bush to plant in the four corners of our property. Two huge trees now. The other two had to be taken down because they were planted near power lines. Always remember to look up before you decide to put a tree and look down to check the underground facilities before digging.
Columnist Susan Richards is Director of the Garden Center at New North Greenhouses,
719 Airport Road.
#Growing #success #mind