Spring Cuttings Lead to Fall Plantings

I am the type of person who loves to cut fresh bouquets of flowers to bring in the house, take to work, or give to family and friends. My Mom and my mother-in-law always get a Mother’s Day Bouquet cut from my gardens, and I love to have flowers in my office at work.

But I don’t only cut flowers for my floral arrangements; I also love to cut branches from flowering shrubs. Weigela, forsythia, mock orange, pussy willow and curly willow, these branches add height and texture to arrangements, and they have a tendency to hold their blooms longer in a vase than some flowers. What I have found is that many times, these branches will begin to send out roots while sitting in a vase full of water. I take these rooted cuttings, plant them into containers and keep them watered throughout the growing season. Most times, I have nice size transplants that can be planted into the garden in the fall, or they can be babied over the winter and then be planted the following spring.

If you were lucky enough to receive a lily for the Easter holiday, you can not only enjoy the long fragrant blooms, but you can transplant the lily in your garden and enjoy blossoms from year to year. After the blooms begin to fade and you are left with a tall stem of greenery, place the plant outside in the sun. Keep it moist and in two to three weeks, remove the lily from the pot and plant into the garden in an area with full sun. These lilies are grown from bulbs and the bulbs will rapidly multiple in rich garden soil. Don’t cut the greenery down because this is what will feed the bulb and help it form next year’s blooms. The first year after planting an Easter lily into the ground, you may only have one or two blossoms, but don’t despair. By the next year, the clump will grow and soon you will have a well established patch of lilies that are easily cared for and long lived.

Typically, fall is the time to plant most trees and shrubs, but there are a few that will tolerate spring plantings, and some that even prefer the spring. Japanese maples, river birches, magnolias, tulip trees, weigelas, butterfly bushes, flowering almonds and mock oranges not only thrive with spring planting, but many of them will even bloom during that first year. It is usually best to pick off these blooms the first year, because if the blooms mature into seeds, this will take energy away from the growing root ball, and root development is crucial to a happy healthy plant.

During the early spring months, there are many plants that need to have their growth curbed until later in the growing season. Many of these plants grow best when “you keep’em four inches high til the Fourth of July.” In other words, chrysanthemums, asters, cosmos, zinnias, and salvias should be pinched off – using the thumb and forefinger – when the plants are approximately four inches tall. The goal is to keep the plant growing and bushing out by maintaining a four inch height until early July, so continuing pinching every two or three weeks. After the first in week in July, allow the plants to continue growing without interpretation. You will be rewarded with healthier, sturdy plants full of long lasting blooms.

After your daffodils and other spring bulbs have bloomed, cut off the flower stalk to halt seed production, but do not cut or pull off the yellowing leaves. Just as with the Easter lilies, these bulbs gain energy from the withering foliage. Normally the temptation is to tidy the garden up by removing the foliage, but this will cause a decrease in flower production next year. Instead, trample the foliage down and allow it to act like mulch around other emerging plants.

Although fall is normally when you plant spring flowering bulbs, if have had success with transplanting bulbs in the spring. Most times I forget where my spring bulbs are planted, so it is hard to dig them and transplant in the fall. So I frequently will dig up a clump of bulbs near the end of their bloom and transplant to other areas of the garden. This allows me to see the bloom and color so I know what I’m transplanting where. Again, allow the foliage to die naturally, and don’t except lots of blooms the first year. After that, the bulbs will continue to grow as if they had never been transplanted.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

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