Friday, November 13, 2020

Propagating Herbs - Experiment winter 2020


This year I am going to try establishing new herb plant from cuttings.  I kept my tri-colored sage and rosemary plants in clay pots buried in the herb bed.  These two plants are the most difficult herbs for me to grow.  I can grow basil or parsley easily, and have vigorous swaths of thyme under the fruit trees.  Finding and buying new tri-colored sage each year is a hassle so it was a natural choice. Often the available plants are small and scraggley anyway.  I only use the tr-colored sage as an ornamental.  When frost was imminent I just pulled the pots out of the ground.  I kept them outdoors against the garden shed for several weeks and finally brought them in when snow was expected.  

Some years in the past my sage has survived the winter outdoors.  
Here the tri-colored sage is in the center of the rock cluster and thriving.

My office front wall is all south facing windows and I've often over wintered plants there. In fact, starting November 12th of each year and lasting to January 29th, the sun is low enough in the horizon that it hits me right in the eyes from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  Thirty-nine days before the Solstice to thirty-nine days after.  My own little Stonehenge reckoning.  The rest of the year, the arc of the sun as viewed from my chair stays above the window lintel.  

I am using perlite in bottom watering cells that can be kept full of water and have plastic dome covers.  They say cuttings started in perlite grow a more sturdy root system than those started in water alone.  I remember my father starting thousands of geranium cuttings in trays of perlite.

I took some cuttings yesterday dipped them in rooting hormone and arranged them in the cells.  I did not snip all of the available growing ends from my parent plants in case my first attempt fails and I have to try again in spring. I may be starting too early and not hitting the plants during a growth phase, but this at least fulfills my urge to grow something.  The warm sunny window ought to see them through the winter.  If not, they can move to grow lights.  And with any luck, I can pot them up after a month or so and will have half a dozen substantial plants to set out next year.

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