Another Frugal Gardening Tip

by Fern on November 10, 2008

in Frugal Container Gardening,How To

I’m not even going to bother telling you that times are tough right now. We all know that. But what can frugal minded gardeners do about it?

Well, for starters, you can take cuttings from your existing plants and those of your friends and neighbors (with permission of course). Taking cuttings means free plants. I don’t know about you, but free sounds really good right about now.

These Coleus plants are all from a single plant I purchased for $3.99. When I bought the plant, I had in mind making topiaries, so I was really excited to find a plant with six branches. Immediately upon bringing the original plant home, I cut off the six branches, dipped the cut end in rooting hormone, and stuck the stems in fresh potting soil. A week or so later they were all growing roots. My four dollars bought me six attempts at making a topiary. Less than a buck a plant is pretty darn good!

Now, whenever I pinch off a branch growing too low down on my topiaries, I repeat the cutting process described above and get a new, free plant. I also do the same thing when I trim my mother’s geraniums. And I have had good results with Ivy and Philodendrons by just sticking a cutting in a glass of water until roots have developed.

Have you taken cuttings before? Which plants have you had success with?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Gen Schmidt November 10, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I’ve had fantastic luck with Fuchsias, in particular my favorite, Fuchsia thymifolia. I’ve left a twig after pruning and had it sprout into a small plant! Rosemary and both ornamental and culinary sages have done well from cutting too.

I’ve had good luck with dividing ornamental grasses, too.


Fern November 10, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Gen — I haven’t been able to get my fuchsia cuttings to root. Was it a woody cutting you took? And did you do the rooting hormone/dirt method or did you put it in a cup of water, or…? The type of fuchsia I have is Angel Earings ‘Snowfire.’ Does that matter?


tina November 11, 2008 at 4:43 am

Taking cuttings is a great tip. Many don’t know you can do this very thing and increase your stock of plants. Love the coleus and did you make the topiaries?


TC November 11, 2008 at 5:52 am

I’ve had great success with what you have pictured, and Epipremnum aureum (Devil’s Ivy), Gynura aurantiaca sarmentosa (Purple Passion Vine), Hedera helix (English Ivy), and Rhoea (Moses-In-The-Boat), to name a few.


TC November 11, 2008 at 5:53 am

Sorry, Moses-In-The-Boat is Rhoeo spathacea.


Fern November 11, 2008 at 10:51 am

TC — Purple Passion Vine…that sounds interesting. I’ll have to google it and see what it looks like.

Tina — I am in the process of growing the coleus taller and pinching off the grow in places where I don’t want it to be (i.e. low down on the trunk). When I’m done, I’ll definitely post a pic.


Racquel November 11, 2008 at 10:34 am

Some of my original plants in my garden were started from cuttings. Such a great way to multiply the garden for free!


Cindy November 12, 2008 at 9:26 am

I took cuttings of my coleus before the frost hit so I now have some growing on my kitchen windowsill and I won’t have to buy new ones in the Spring!


Fern November 12, 2008 at 11:54 am

Raquel — It’s my favorite thing to do. You get a plant with the same characteristics of a plant you already know and like, it’s easy, and it’s free.

Cindy — I’m sure your coleus’s green and magenta colors really brighten up your windowsill.


Mimi November 16, 2008 at 8:58 am

Umbrella tree always roots for me. I prune the top once a year and put the stalk in water. In a few weeks, there are good strong roots that take to dirt easily. I’ve given three or four away and they’re all growing into big plants.

I have a friend who roots Wandering Jew babies and sells them at charity functions. Easy way to raise funds, if you have room in your house till you take them to the sale.


Fern November 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Mimi–That’s a good idea to use cuttings to fund raise. There’s almost no overhead!


Sarah February 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I can get most cuttings to root. The trick is to cut it just below the bulbous part where a leaf or secondary stem connects to the main stem and then pull off the bottom couple of offshoots. Everything a plant needs to make a new plant is right in that knobby part. Then I just put it in an ordinary glass of water until it roots. Also, you have to make cuttings when the plant isn’t flowering or going to seed. Otherwise the plant puts all it’s energy into perpetuating the species instead of growing new roots.


Christina June 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I’ve just had a lot of success with cuttings of peppermint and scented geraniums.

My basil didn’t take, but now that I have read the other comments here, I realize it’s because it was flowering. Thanks, Sarah.


Danielle Alexander March 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Rosemary is a pretty easy one to propagate.


Kate Snow March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

Cuttings are great for keeping memories. I have a cutting from my late grandmother’s jade plant (Gram). It’s doing really well and always makes me think of her. In addition, I’m nursing a variegated African violet along from a cutting from my husband’s grandmother (Grammie) who lives in a home.

Surrounding myself with all things green makes me happy — growing these particular plants help me remember Gram and Grammie fondly.


Pat Dossett May 4, 2012 at 7:13 am

The window over my sink is a perfect “nursery”for rooting plants.The early morning sun keeps the plants in water,warm and avoids hot afternoon sun plus plants are easier to see when just enough roots form and are ready form soil.


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