How To Take Salvia Cuttings
The gold leaf Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ which can be seen growing in the garden of offspring Brokenbeat’s Asheville garden in the fall of 2008, see the post here-Beauty At Casa Brokenbeat, was greatly admired. He generously struck and potted a cutting for the Fairegarden, giving it to us last summer. It was planted in a large container, to be taken inside the greenhouse/sunroom in the fall for it is not hardy here. The plan was to take cuttings and have a nice swath of this deliciously scented plant growing mightily in 2010. We have not seen this plant for sale anywhere, so it is a rare treasure with sentimental value as well. Here is what we did:
Inside the greenhouse, the recycled nine packs were prepared by dumping out anything inside. We do not sterilize, never have and never will, but perhaps should. Gardening is dirty. Well moistened seed starting mix was firmly tamped into the container. Cuttings were taken from the mother plant using scissors, again not sterilized, cutting just below the leaf nodes, about four inches tall. The lower leaves were pinched off using the ever handy thumbnail. Large leaves were cut in half, so as not to overhang from the cell and cause rotting. A hole was made in the center of
the section of the potting mix of each cell of the nine celled container (just for you, Pomona) with a screw driver. The trimmed cutting was stuck into the bottle of powdered rooting hormone with the excess shaken off back inside. The cutting was placed into the prepared hole with the soil pushed firmly around the stem.
The packs were placed into a larger flat with a clear plastic domed lid to keep the moisture level high while the new roots grow from the leaf nodes. Cuttings were also taken of Coleus ‘Inky Fingers’.
Inky was planted into this purple container from the get go rather than in the ground last spring when purchased. We knew cuttings could be stuck right into the ground during the spring, with a large leaf to shade it until roots formed, then the pot would be brought into the greenhouse to winter over, and more cuttings taken. That is one of the reasons that many of the orchids were left outside over the winter. We wanted more room for cuttings. Priorities, you know.
Cuttings were taken at the time the sage was brought inside as well since the plant was quite large. They were just stripped of the lower leaves and stuck into the same pot as the mother plant. They all seem to have rooted. The little clay balls that we had purchased many years ago at a Smith and Hawken store in Texas make a perfect topping for herbaceous plants wintering over in the greenhouse. They prevent soil born disease and dirt splashing up on the leaves during watering. They will be removed when the plants go outside in the spring, saved to be reused. Chicken grit or small gravel could also be used. Other tender salvias were also potted and brought in, Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ and S. leucantha. Both of these had cuttings taken immediately and placed in the same pot with the mother plants. Not all plants are worth the bother to overwinter and take cuttings, but these salvias are only available in larger pots at the nurseries, at larger prices. The butterflies and hummers adore the flowers and the plants add much to the landscape as a whole. Having the mass planting is still the vision, and free plants means it might come to fruition.
There was another plant brought into the greenhouse that was intended to be used as a mother plant. This variegated pepper was purchased at Mouse Creek in the fall. Seeds were to be collected and sown from the dried fruits we noticed on the plants. But before that could be done, baby peppers began popping up below the mother. Photo taken November 11, 2009.
This current shot shows the babies are now blooming size, and beginning to show variegation with the stronger sunlight coming through the south facing window as spring approaches ever nearer. Another mass planting, with zero effort on our part to make the babies. It pays to pot up.