Saturday, December 1, 2012

Want a new plant? Get it Free by Propagation!

I learned this frugal and green gardening trick from my mother as a young child.  If you see a plant you like, grab a good looking healthy limb, put it in contact with the dirt and stick a rock on it to hold it in place.  Then viola – in 6 months to a year you have an exact match of the plant!   Now this trick doesn’t work with every plant such as bulbs, but many it will. 

Rose Bush Limb Propataion
Materials Needed:
Bush or Plant you wish to propagate

Select a limb or branch on the plant that is healthy and you can bend to the ground.  Clear away mulch and dig out a shallow spot so the limb can come into contact with about 1 to 2 inch section of the ground.  You will need about 2 to 5 inches of the limb showing from the ground (this will be your new plant).  Make sure you clear the dirt the appropriate distance from your mother plant. Lay your limb down, cover the section that meets the dirt with about an inch of dirt and place a rock on it to hold it in place.  *Note some gardeners like to make a slit in the branch and/or use root hormone where the plant comes in contact with the ground, I never have. 

Now just treat this plant as you would the mother plant.  Wait 6 months, and then dig around the plant gently with your finger.  If you are eager and you feel there are sufficient roots cut the limb that connects your new plant from the mother plant.  I wait a few more weeks and then you can dig and move the plant to a new location, or leave it happily growing where it is.
Mother Rose Bush being Propagated

Bonus: Propagated plants make great gifts! I am currently propagating a rose bush my mother-in-law gave me several years ago for mother’s day.  She purchased two and gave one to me and one to her daughter. This bush has preformed amazingly well in my yard. For some reason she didn’t buy herself one, however she loves roses.  Guess who I plan to give one of my propagations to?
Propagated Oak Leaf Hydrangea

This is a picture of an Oak Leaf Hydrangea that my mother propagated for me about two years ago. I saw several in the store, but I didn’t want it bad enough to spend $35 on it.  I remembered that my mom had several in her yard that were doing fabulous in a location very similar to where I planned to plant mine, so I asked her to “throw down a limb” for me.  True, the hard part is waiting, but in the end, knowing that you have a beautiful plant that you made or received as a gift is wonderful!

Please share your success stories or failures below.  Thank you!


  1. See all of the weeds & Grass in the pic above titled Propagated Oak Leaf Hydrangea? Stay Tuned... Next week I will use a method I call "Lazy Weeding" to demonstrate how easy it is to kill grass and weeds and keep them from coming back - Naturally!

  2. So you keep the branch attached to the plant until there are roots?

  3. Yes, only cut the branch back to the mother plant after you have verified that there are roots on the new plant.


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