|Published: 17th July 2007 19:18|
By John Sanders
One of many satisfying things about gardening is growing your own plants from seed or cuttings. Not all plants lend themselves to being propagated by cuttings but many do and one of the easiest is the beautiful fuchsia. Maybe you have purchased a very pretty fuchsia and you want to create a bed of the same one. So off to the nursery or garden centre you go and spend several pounds buying up their plants. Even the small pots are at least 99p.
For the cost of a tub of rooting powder, a sharp pair of scissors, some good compost and some of your time, a display worthy of the Chelsea Flower Show is possible.
Fuchsias most commonly have their leaves arranged round the stem in pairs, but some threes and others four can be found. Have a good look at the parent plant and see if some of the stems have the leaves arranged in more than pairs. If there is a good stem with the leaves in threes, select that for your cutting. This will mean that your new plant will throw out three shoots from each leaf whorl instead of just two making for a bushier mature plant
Firstly prepare your pots with compost and water them leaving time for excess water to drain away. Take your cutting with two or three leaf pairs below the top whorl, see figure 1, trim off the excess stem to just below a leaf joint, see figure 2. Trim off the lower leaves and flowers leaving the top whorl intact (figure 3). Dip the trimmed end of the cutting into the rooting compound so that where the lowest set of leaves was removed is cover with the powder.
With a fine dibber, a pencil makes an excellent dibber for this job; put the cutting in the dibbed hole and gently press the compost close round the stem. Don't press the compost down too hard, fuchsias like a light touch round their feet. According to the size of the pot, four or five cuttings can be put in each pot.
Now you sit back and wait. Next day the cuttings will probably look a bit sad and droopy, but don't worry. A fine spray of water will help them. After a couple of days things will start to look better; by the end of a week the cuttings should all be standing upright which signals the development of their new root systems. Don't let the compost dry out.
When the tips of the new white roots show through the bottom of the flower pot comes the time to pot the new plants on into individual larger pots. Again don't firm the compost down hard. Put the compost in loosely, and then tap the pot down on a firm surface. Gently water the new pot and let the plant take over its new home. Once it starts to grow on, nip the tip out which will cause new shoots to be grown from the leaf joints. Repeat the tip nipping to produce a nice bushy plant. But remember it will take about six weeks from the last tip nipping to develop flowers.