Through the Window and Into the Garden

Gardening

When October arrives, we know our year in the garden is coming to a close. While the chrysanthemums are just now starting their full show, other summer bloomers are beginning to tuck their blossoms away. This is the perfect time to make some cuttings that will produce new houseguests for the winter. I love a windowsill full of stems in little glass vases. It is so much fun to watch these lovely summer plants regenerate into indoor winter bloomers.

An easy plant to begin your cutting experiment is probably one you enjoyed in your own garden all summer—the begonia. In today’s nursery, you will find countless varieties of this hardy tropical perennial. The leaf color, as well as the bloom, provides a wide array of color and shape. Some begonias are grown for their beautiful, waxy and shiny leaves. Others are coveted for their beautifully shaped flowers and leaves. Whichever you have, this is an excellent plant to propagate in the windowsill. 

Start with about a four-inch or longer cutting. Remove the leaves at the bottom so that at least an inch and a half will be under water. Keep the water level consistent and fresh. Watch for hair-like roots that will begin to emerge from the sides of the submerged stems. Once the roots are about two inches in length, transfer your cutting to a small pot. You will fill the pot with small pebbles and potting soil made for good drainage. I like to use the soil made for cacti or succulents. Keep the soil moist but not wet. You will probably have several small pots at this point, so place them on a tray filled with pebbles or pea gravel to keep your new plants in a moist environment.  If they are located in a bright, sunny location they should begin to reward you with blooms that will last through the winter.

Should this sound like too much work, simply purchase a ready-potted begonia plant and begin to enjoy the color and beauty of this simple plant immediately. Water the plant only when the soil feels dry to the touch and the leaves look a little droopy. Overwatering is not a friend of an indoor begonia. Clip the dead blooms and don’t forget to talk to your new houseguest daily!

There are lots more tips online for growing these beautiful plants. The best part of this cutting experience is that, come spring, this indoor guest is easily transferred to a semi shady spot in your well-drained garden for a summer of blooming delight. Give it a try today!

Email your gardening questions to Lisa at shakeslyons@aol.com.



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