Category Archives: Propagating

Propagating, or growing new plants from old.

pink yellow green croton leaves

Starting New Crotons From Old Plants

Finding plants that will propagate easily has always been a goal of mine. Starting new crotons from old plants is easy. In fact it’s easier than propagating most things I’ve tried.  Cut the stem, put cuttings in water and wait a few weeks.  More detailed explanation below.

It is possible to propagate hydrangeas, but that takes time. It’s worth it, because in the end you have a new, lovely hydrangea bush. In fact my baby hydrangeas grew quite large before I had to move.

But back to the crotons. These plants love sun and heat and can live through a draught. The wilted leaves come back after getting some water. Crotons like well-drained soil, and the sandy soil of Florida helps this plant to love it outdoors. It can even survive the cold nights we sometimes get here in Central Florida.

This first photo below was taken over the winter months, when the leaves are duller in color with more green and dark purple colors.  Or maybe this one just needed better care.

crotons and birdhouse
Winter Croton

In this second photo, you can see that this plant’s leaves have turned stunning red, orange, yellow and pink from the bright Florida summer sun.  I’ve also given it fertilizer and cleaned out the pot a bit.  It was full of ferns.

croton
Summer Croton

So, to propagate this croton, I waited until Spring when it began to grow some new leaves. Then I cut off the top of a longer stem, also making the stem long enough to drink from a vase of water. Remove the lower leaves of that cutting, and put it in water.

croton
Bright Orange Leaves of the Croton

You will want the stem to not be touching the bottom of the vase, so find one that leaves it hanging. The new roots will grow out of the bottom of the cut stem.
Wait a few weeks and the roots will emerge. Be sure to change the water in the vase daily! Once you see roots, it won’t be long before they are long enough and you can plant the new croton in a pot or the ground.  Don’t plant until the roots are at least an inch long.

propagated croton plants
Three New Croton Plants

These are my three new croton plants. Their leaves are not as bright because I took the cuttings before the mother plant’s leaves turned so pretty. But once these new plants are in the ground, in a sunny location, they will turn just as bright.

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New Free Hydrangeas – Propagating My Blushing Bride

how to propagate hydrangeas
The Blushing Bride after 2 new plants were dug

Last summer I had noticed that my ‘blushing bride’ hydrangea had low-lying branches which were taking root. I had successfully propagated a hydrangea before – started a new bush from an existing one – by digging up a rooted stem and transplanting it.

There is all kinds of info about taking and rooting leaf cuttings to begin a hydrangea plant, but the ground root layering method will give you a larger plant with a stronger root system. And you have an instant new shrub.

Click my link above to see my story about doing this in the past, or follow along here on my blog, and I’ll explain what I did this time – with pictures!

This method of gaining a new, free plant for your yard (or to give to a friend) works with the macrophylla variety of hydrangeas which tend to have branches that grow close to the ground. In my yard I grow the blue endless summer and the white blushing bride which are this type. Their flowers are rounded and the color of the flower can be changed according to the soil conditions.

Once you find those low lying branches and find one that is rooted to the dirt, tug gently to see if it’s rooted well. If it comes right up, put it back (cover it with lots of dirt) and add a weight (like a rock) to hold the root down into the soil. I leave those to dig up at a later time.

rooting hydrangeas
The rock will hold the stem in place until the roots get larger and stronger.

The offshoots that I dig up are well rooted and look like little hydrangea plants all on their own. It is easiest to do this in Spring before all the leaves have come out and make it difficult to see around the base of the shrub. As I searched around the base of my original plant, I found one well-rooted shoot by itself, and two that were so close together that I kept them as one plant. Continue reading New Free Hydrangeas – Propagating My Blushing Bride