Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old school propagation

I have an elderly friend who still lives in the house that his parents built a few years after immigrating here from Italy. One day I admired the camellia bush he has growing outside his kitchen door. "My mother planted that bush," he said. "She could grow anything - fruit trees, bushes, anything. She would take cuttings, stick 'em in the ground, put a jar over 'em, and bodda-bing! - a new plant." He urged me to cut a couple branches off the bush. "I'm tellin' ya, when ya go home, stick 'em in the ground right away, cover 'em with a jar, and when ya see new growth on the branch, you'll know it worked. Ya gotta try a couple, 'cause some of 'em won't take, but at least one will. Try it."

He sent me home with a couple of blossoms, too, for encouragment.

I was skeptical. It seemed too easy. But I tried it. He was right. Two of the three I "stuck in the ground" died. But the third one...

Bodda-bing!

Moral of the story: listen to your elders. They know stuff. Thanks, Carlo.

10 comments:

JoAnn said...

AHHH! That's so cool.
Camilla, are those smelly (like in a good way?) because if they are I like them, I've only seen white though.
I'm doing a happy dance in my chair, because now I can sneak out at night and take clippings from my neighbor's plants. Is that allowed? does it work for everything shrub-ish?

Alexis said...

I'm going to try this. I think it could totally work for me because it's not a vegetable.

I love how you wrote out what your friend told you. I could almost hear him speaking!
"bodda-bing"

monix said...

I must try this. I have two lovely camellias that I would love to propagate but didn't know how. I'll sing "bodda-bing" if it works!

Cheryl said...

Oh, I've so got to try this. I've put cuttings of blackcurrants straight in the ground before and it has worked fine, but I've not tried it with jar over the top.

I can see my garden turning into a jam jar garden!

Stephanie Ann said...

Bodda-bing! :D

Niamh said...

Oh, I love the idea of a "jam jar garden"! What a super cool idea! If I ever grow any plants on purpose (I'm sticking to wild blackberries and long established pecans right now) I'll so put a jar over the baby plant just to see if a mini-greenhouse makes my growing a bit more successful...plus I need to learn to grow things successfully just as a general skill since grocery stores may not be around for ever.
And I didn't know that his parents built that house...I loved-loved their kitchen sink. I told Zac after I saw it that when we build a house, we are having a 1940's bathtub-huge sink.

Jodi said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I hope
you'll have the same success. I was amazed.

JoAnn, I don't think camellia have a scent, not that I noticed anyway. And I'm not sure it will work for any shrub, but it's worth a try. P.S. Don't get caught ;)

keLi said...

so true ... how many times i have wasted life asking Google a question that my elderly neighbor next door could answer in a flash ...

Congrats on your green thumb!

Quotidian Life said...

I just tried this with two lavendar bushes. I did dip the stems in rooting powder, however. It's working great for one of the bushes (I took ten starts) and I'm not sure about the other one--a different variety. Some of starts have already died but I'm hopeful a couple will take. This my first try at stem-in-the-ground propagation (I'm sure it has a proper-horticulturish name).

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

My oldest sil (who will be 84 this August) propagates own root roses this way.......Thanks for reminding me!

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