Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time For A New Start

Every winter we try to winter over our lemon verbena, Aloysia triphalla with limited success.  This year the plants remained green and growing until the spider mites gained the upper hand.  Becky's intervention with dish washing liquid and vodka spray turned the tide.  One plant lost many leaves to the mites but responded with new tender growth.  This new growth looks like ideal cutting material.  So we are going to try and get new plants to grow from pieces of the old plant.

For some reason I favor heel cuttings that include a thin sliver of the old stem.  Three stem cuttings and three heel cuttings would have allowed a comparison of the two methods but that idea did not present itself until the job was done.  So the heels were placed in water then dusted with rooting hormone.  The stems were placed in shallow depressions and the soil brought to the stems.  That sequence of steps is intended to keep the rooting powder on the freshly cut surface.

The pots were placed in a bucket of water to bring moisture up from the bottom.  Then they were placed in saucers and capped with bottomless juice bottles.  Plastic juice bottle covers are intended to maintain high humidity around the leaves until roots form.  A spot at the end of the shelf out of direct sunlight is the present location of these pots.  

Please remember that we have no idea what we are doing.  This post is intended to give us an easily found record of what we did and when we did it. If the cuttings root, we will be able to date to their growth prior to planting out and modify if necessary.  If the cuttings die, we can try to figure out why.  In either event our fall back position is to order three new plants from Richters.  For today I got dirt under my finger nails and it felt great.

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