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Here’s your chance to get new plants

I love to see our plants grow in the demo gardens, but I think one of my favorite things is to get new plants without paying too much.

One of the easiest ways to get or grow extra plants is by stem propagation. This is a pretty easy trick to take cuttings off of plants you already have and root them into new plants.

Many clients call and ask when is the best time to do stem cuttings and, of course, when will the Extension Master Gardeners have a class. Luckily, this is the time of year to do stem cuttings and the Extension Master Gardeners have a class coming up July 13 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The class will be held at the Cooperative Extension office at 2727 Old Concord Road under the shelter that is beside the greenhouse. The cost is $20, which includes your tray, soil, root tone and tray storage in the greenhouse. The funds also help support the Extension Master Gardener program. Registration is required, so please call the office at 704-216-8970 to reserve your tray.

This class can teach participants how to create new plants by using current plants to take cuttings. Even though I am a horticulture agent, we will sometimes have plants die. This is an easy way to fill in those spots with another similar plant or something different entirely.

To help make the program a success, we ask that gardener participants bring their own cuttings from their homes to propagate and share with other participants. One of the gems of the program is that the Extension Master Gardeners will also have nice plant specimens to share with the group.

One of the most important things to do when you sign up for the program is to have the best plant material. To do this you will need to select softwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings are the stems that can be snapped easily went bent.

It is important to make a nice, clean cut with a cleaned/sterile pruning shears to reduce diseases. Make sure you take the cuttings early in the day and place in cool water; this increases the percentage of rooting.

Make sure you label each of the stems so that you and those you share with know what the plant is. The reason we use softwood cuttings is because they are some of the easiest to propagate and they are able to root the fastest. Some of my favorites to root are camelias, blueberries, viburnum and even butterfly bushes, to name a few.

For more information on softwood stem cutting propagation, visit: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/plant-propagation-by-stem-cuttings-instructions-for-the-home-gardener.

Gardening can be so much fun and when you can get good quality plants, and on the cheap it makes it even better. If you have any questions about what plants would be best for stem propagation or you would like to register for the propagation class please contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danélle Cutting at 704-216-8970 or email her at danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu

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