Cut to make more: Two plants become twelve

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"We can stick cuttings," we said, 7 weeks ago. And look at them now! 

On the shortest day of the year we found spring in the basement!


We checked on Sedum cuttings made in late October.

Look with us: It is always such a thrill to see small things growing!

The story: A new planting called for 12 of the Sedum cauticola hybrid 'Vera Jameson.' Only two plants could be found for sale.

"No problem," we said to K.T., "they grow! After a year or so you can split them to fill the area."

"Any way to make that happen faster?" K.T. asked.

"We can stick cuttings. You can keep them growing all winter if you have a cool place where you can set up fluorescent light."

"What about on a windowsill?"

"Not ideal. Never as much light... but no harm trying!"

Below: The windowsill they sit on is in a cool basement. That's good, as it's a big challenge to keep even a well rooted sun-loving plant alive where it's warm but in low light.


So we clipped all the stems off the two plants we had, and cut those into 12 segments with stem-plus leaf. For each tiny clipping we made a terrarium: a disposable coffee cup punched with drain holes, filled with soilless potting mix into which we stuck a cutting's stem base, the whole covered with clear plastic held tight with a rubber band.

(Also, we'd hoped for condensation under the plastic as a cue to the soil moisture. It's a sign that's simpler to read than checking the weight of such small pots. Alas, these cups are too cool for condensation to form. If they were warmer -- in which case they would also need more hours of light each day -- lack of condensation would mean "water me".)

Eight weeks later, 10 of the 12 are growing.

Below: The new leaves are still tiny compared to what they will be, but we applaud them -- to have regrouped and resumed growth in just a few hours light per day!  Kudos go to the gardener, K.T., who's careful to add a bit of water only when the cups feel light.



Above: Some are fading -- new foliage green but older leaves growing pale. For why...

By spring our clones will be well rooted chunky plants which K.T. can move into the garden.

Below: The two mother plants might approach this size in their second or third year, dusky blue-purple foliage on stems spreading eighteen inches wide and ten tall. They'll produce rosy flowers in fall. The little ones will probably match their size the following year.