Small Gardens

The Propagation Of Plants

By dividing--By cuttings--By seeds--By layers. =Propagation may be affected in various ways=, of which division is perhaps the easiest. It must be done very carefully, or decay will set in. Some plants lend themselves to this form of propagation very readily; in others, the

root stock is single and obviously resents division, wherefore it is better to try another plan. The Michaelmas daisies are good instances of the first kind; their roots are fibrous, and soon take to the new soil; it is tap-rooted plants which dislike division so much. =CAREFUL DIVISION.= It is advisable to divide most plants in the growing season, which is from spring to early autumn; if it is done in the winter months, each piece frequently remains quite inert and eventually rots. The plant should be taken up, with a fork by preference, and then pulled carefully apart with the hand. =The smallest fragment of the old white anemone will grow=, but few plants will stand quite so much division. Each piece should be well watered as it is planted, and if the sun is hot some shade improvised. Such things as delphiniums, phloxes, campanulas, and quick-growing subjects in general, should not be left too long without being divided, or the flowers will dwindle, and the plants become straggling in habit. A good many plants which might be propagated by =division= of the roots are propagated instead by cuttings, as the flowers come finer in every way, and of course this method suits many plants which cannot be divided. Chrysanthemums present few difficulties; though the ultimate growth of this Japanese plant entails a vast amount of labour (if prizes are the object in view), yet cuttings from them are the easiest things possible to strike, even easier than a geranium, as there is no damping off. =Cuttings are generally struck under glass=, this method being the surest, even with hardy plants. The shoots selected should be well ripened, and the cut made squarely below a joint and be =taken with a "heel"= if possible, that is, with a piece of the old wood attached. All but the topmost leaves should be pinched off, and then the cuttings must be inserted round the sides of the pot, and the soil well pressed down,--the best cuttings in the world cannot make roots unless this be attended to. After that a good watering should be given them, and the pots set in a shady place till they have emitted roots, which may be known by the fact of their beginning to make new leaves. Some cuttings root better when the cut is allowed to form a "callus," which in warm weather only takes a few hours. =Rose cuttings= root very well out of doors on a north border, and trees produced in this manner are often very satisfactory, but they take a long while to come to a flowering stage, somewhat trying the patience of ardent amateurs. One can gradually get quite a nice collection of interesting plants, by striking all the likely shoots in the different bunches of flowers received from friends, but it is generally best to identify them as soon as possible, so as to give each the right treatment. =Propagation by seed= is quite a fascinating employment, and is a successful method, if pains are taken; though so many amateurs seem to fail. I have found it the safest plan, with all except the largest seeds, to bring them up under glass. Even the hardiest can be treated in this way, and one feels so much more sure of the result. For one thing, birds cannot get at them, therefore there is no need to make a network of black cotton to keep them off; neither can the cat meddle with them, and we all know pussy is a very bad gardener. =The pans= specially sold for the purpose are the best, but pots will do very well. Fill them with fine moist soil, and press firmly down; then scatter the seed thinly on the top, and only cover with a slight layer of soil, afterwards placing in a dark corner. Where the seed is very small, do not cover with any mould at all, but, as an extra protection, place a piece of cardboard over the top of the pot, so that they shall not be blown away. =Seeds like a still atmosphere=, moisture, warmth, and darkness. Seeds and seedlings must not be watered in the ordinary way, but the pan containing them should be placed in a saucer of water, when enough moisture will be drawn up by capillary attraction. Thinning is extremely necessary; every plant must be given room to attain its full dimensions; where this is not done, the result is most unsatisfactory. As regards the =time for sowing=, of course, spring is the most usual, but in the case of annuals it will often be found a good plan to sow a few in autumn, as, by pursuing this method, nice stocky little plants are ready for the garden quite early in the season, and give flowers long before spring-sown seed could possibly do so. =Propagation by layering= is very useful, as cuttings of some plants will not strike readily. Strong shoots are denuded of their leaves for a few inches, and their stems slit up and pressed into the ground by means of a peg; when firmly rooted, they can be detached from the parent plant by means of a penknife. Carnations are generally reproduced in this way, as it is the surest method of all.

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