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The Oh-So-Easy Plants

October 10, 2010

There are some plants that are supposedly so easy to propagate that at the Apprenticeship Place, they were derogatively known as ‘housewife plants’ – plants that any housewife can propagate.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a housewife, but I have a hard time with the two that were most often called that, Coleus/Plectranthus scutellarioides and Abutilon.

Of all the Coleus cuttings I got back in February, not a single one survived long enough to be potted up. Some of them started to grow roots in their jars of water, but then started to rot.

This time round, I’ve had better luck, and the first batch of ‘Inky Fingers’ grew so nicely that I started a second one.










With the Abutilons, on the other hand, I had better luck in spring – then, I managed to root almost all of the cuttings I took, plenty to give away to friends and to sell.

But this time… it’s a sad sight.

I console myself with the thought that other people also have bad luck with Abutilon cuttings – I’ll prune my plants back a little more, move them in for the Winter and try again in Spring with the new growth – I suspect that may be the problem. Maybe these old, hard Autumn branches just don’t root as easily, and can’t take up so much water.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2010 21:37

    The one that’s been giving me trouble lately, besides Abutilon, is Salvia elegans. I know it’s easy enough to do, because I did it any number of times last year, but lately, any cuttings I try to root either just sit there doing nothing (usually) or die outright (often enough to be annoying). I suspect the age of the stem is a factor: cuttings taken from weak, spindly, smooth stems seem to be more successful, and go faster, than the sturdy, robust-looking stems.

    Not that that relates to your situation particularly. Just saying that I’m also experiencing some trouble with some “easy” propagations right now. Maybe it’s the time of year.

    • October 10, 2010 21:47

      It’s possible – I took a lot of Abutilon cuttings last Autumn, too (because that was when I had them available), and none of them survived the winter. It’s frustrating, because now I can’t get my hands on those beautiful dark red ones any more, or on the white ones.

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