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Pothos Propagation Party

October 2, 2012

(I apologize in advance for all the alliterations that might appear all over the place. I’d love to blame them on Tolkien’s Lays of Beleriand with their alliterative loveliness, but really, right now I’m reading the rhyming couplets of the Lay of Leithian, so I suppose I should say I’m simply silly. See? I can’t stop. I’m so sorry.)

So it was a one-person party, just me and all my Epipremnums, but I can call it a party if I want.

The nursery association the Teeny Tiny Village Nursery belongs to has a new marketing programme for houseplants, with a different plant being highlighted each month. The problem is, the wholesalers only sell those plants in numbers that are far too large for the TTVN. Right now, we have about 50 Schefflera arboricolas, and given the rate at which we sell houseplants, we’ll still have those in five years or so (and we have no good place to put them, either. Our shop is not big enough, and the greenhouses too cold.)

So, I told my boss he would not need to buy January’s plant, Epipremnum aureum – I would take care of it. I’ve got plenty, after all, they’re easy to propagate, and I would be a fool to pass up an opportunity to earn money with my plants.

Future money, still climbing around the kitchen wall.

Money may not grow on trees, but apparently it grows on walls…

Of course, I am a fool to grow even more plants at a time of year when I should be trying to reduce, reduce, reduce, to make it easier to bring everything inside for the winter.

This was so much easier at the Apprenticeship Place, where we had two whole greenhouses for growing houseplants (although at this time of year, the poor foliage plants are always pushed around and crowded together and exiled to the cyclamen house to make room for the poinsettias). Propagating Epipremnum was kind of more fun there as well, when you could chop off a mountain of long vines, then sit down in the workroom and cut them into a mountain of single-node cuttings, for somebody else to plant five to an 11cm pot (I have written that in my work journal so many times, there’s little chance I’ll ever forget the pot size and number of cuttings…)

But at home, I have to deal with less-than-ideal conditions and limited space, no long rows of plastic-foil-covered propagation boxes, so I made my cuttings longer, about three nodes, and will be water-rooting them first.

Sorry for the blurry picture, even with all the lights on, it was too dark for my camera.

I have a perfectly good and well-lit work table in the bedroom, but I had the window open over there, so it was cold, and anyway I didn’t feel like carrying the plants all the way across the Nettle Nest, so I decided I could cut them up on the kitchen counter.

‘Marble Queen’ was a bother to cut up, because it had very short internodes. I don’t know whether that’s just something this variety does, or whether it was because it was on top of the fridge, closest to the window.

The ordinary, yellow-speckled one is looking quite sad right now, but it was my biggest plant before I chopped it back, with four or five vines, most of which were about 4 m long. It’s also my oldest pothos, bought at the Apprenticeship Place, making it at least three years old, and since I’ve never cut it back before, it’s had plenty of time to grow. If I’d done single-node cuttings, I don’t even want to think about how many plants that would have been!

As it is, the cuttings fill most of my empty jam jars, and the jars fill most of my kitchen windowsill.

In my alliterative silliness, I want to say: I placed the pots of pothos pieces on a polystyrene plug plant tray to protect them from the perhaps unpleasantly … um. I can’t think of any p-words for “cold windowsill”. And anyway, they’re jars, not pots.

The thing about the polystyrene is true, though. They’re hogging the best spot the Nettle Nest has to offer – the kitchen and bedroom sills are the sunniest places in the Nettle Nest (this late in the year, I’m not worried about sunburn so much as giving them enough energy to grow, grow, grow.), and the kitchen is a lot warmer than the bedroom (which I deliberately keep as cold as possible), and the plants get checked on/watered much more often. The only downside is that the stone sill gets quite cold in winter, so I hope this will provide some insulation. Something without holes in it would probably be better, but this is all I have.

I’m still not quite sure what I’ll do with the plants that used to live on the kitchen windowsill. To the bedroom? To the living room? They’ve spent the last day on the kitchen floor, but they can’t stay there! The voice in my head is once again singing, as it does so often, “Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle the plants!”  If my life were a TV show, that would be the theme song.

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