Better Gardener: Propagating Hydrangeas
I learned quickly when we started working on our backyard, that small gardens and winding paths don’t exactly mix well with high-energy, long-legged dogs. Our vizsla, Birch, hurdles over shrubs and flowers every day, stands smack dab in the middle of my Solomon’s Seal, or tramples on my hostas. It usually doesn’t bother me, except when he sprints by my hydrangeas. Oh boy. I always cringe, hoping he’s not too close. I follow behind him, picking up the hydrangea twigs that snap off. Here’s what I do to take advantage of the broken branches!
1. Use new, green growth – not the woody area of the stem, it’s older and won’t produce roots.
2. Dip the tip in rooting hormone, about an inch or so. (Using rooting hormone is optional, but I think it really helps!)
3. Clip large leaves in half, so the plant will focus energy on producing roots.
4. Plant in healthy, organic soil. Consider adding perlite and/or vermiculite to help retain moisture for the new roots.
5. Water, wait and then transplant to the ground!
I planted two cuttings in the terra cotta pots above last summer. (The plastic bags only stayed on for the first week or so. I didn’t think they were totally necessary, so I didn’t leave them that way for long.) Once I could feel that the plants had put out a few roots (just tug lightly to feel if there’s resistance), I moved them to the backyard to be in their natural elements. They grew a good bit in the fall so I transplanted them to a bigger container for the winter.
As soon as the weather got warm this spring (around April), I planted them in the ground and they’ve almost doubled in size already! Each plant had a really complete root system, which I was pleasantly surprised to see.
Hydrangeas are an easy plant to propagate, so give it a try this summer! I am thrilled with this easy method of expanding my garden. Now that I know I can do it, I don’t mind as much when Birch takes off sprinting through the garden. In fact, I kind of hope for a stray branch I can take care of.
Photos from my Instagram
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