Getting an indoor garden started — Part 2
‘Plant Daddy’ Wally gives tips for proper plant propagation
The conversation with Andrew Walcott did not stop at watering plants and investing in the proper tools to get an indoor garden started. He lived up to his ‘Plant Daddy’ title by discussing propagation. Plant propagation simply refers to the reproduction of plants either from seeds or using vegetative reproduction such as cuttings from the stem or root (and some leaves, depending on the type of plant). It is any gardener’s secret to avoiding the extra cost of buying more plants of the same kind, and most common house plants can be propagated by the water method.
Plant propagation gives a feeling of continuity and helps to tell the story of when the garden begins and not necessarily ends. For Wally, there has always been a palpable difference between the active and contemplative life. His indoor garden is a place where he can throw himself into physical activity and not just planting, but creating propagation stations. This helps with easy reproduction of plants, and it adds to the whole décor and feel of his home.
“It’s very difficult to make the design I collaborated on with a friend, but the propagation stations are simply for placing plant cuttings into water for rooting. Not only are these an efficient space, but they can become a good discussion piece if you make it on your own,” Wally shared about his wall-mounted, hanging test tubes planter in the kitchen, where he had a few plant cuttings set to ‘catch’.
Wally’s own garden cannot be seen so much from the outdoors, but it turns into a green haven once inside. The indoor garden functions as a place for experimentation and also as somewhere he can take pleasure in gardening himself.
“It is fulfilling to see a small plant flourish. I have found a few that aren’t worth propagating, but they are always worth the try,” he said. “Of course, sometimes you realise when the plant is dying, and there’s nothing you can do. Just a part of life.”
The level of difficulty depends on the plants and the knowledge of the gardener or plant enthusiast. Here is a list of plants that can be propagated easily, specifically in water, and some additional tips from our trusted ‘Plant Daddy’ Wally.
Best plant options:
3. Fiddle Leaf Fig
4. Baby’s Tears
Tools you need:
1. Propagation knife or simple scissors.
2. Glass containers, old jars, or a propagation station.
1. Start with a healthy mother plant and identify the location where you will take the cutting from and then cut below the root node (not all will have this) with a clean scissors. “Sometimes I take the time to check if my plants can grow roots from cuttings, and then sometimes, I take a gamble and end up cutting a few more pieces and sticking them in the same tubes as not all cuttings ‘catch’ all the time,” shared Wally.
2. Place the cutting in a clean container, preferably glass, to easily monitor the growth. There’s also the option of making or purchasing a propagation station. Then pour enough room temperature water to cover the cutting where the node or nodes are seen. “I can cut the Pothos and make another pot out of it. I’ve made a few with a bunch of cuts, and they grow pretty easily.”
3. Change the water every three to five days so that the young plant is not sitting in stagnant water for long periods of time and you avoid breeding mosquitoes and other insect pests. Use the time to observe any growth or how much growth the root or stem cutting has achieved.
4. Lava rocks are good to have. They are round, so they do not crush the roots. Try using stones in the propagation (and re-potting process). The porous pebbles release stored water to the plant roots. “I use the rocks for bigger plants to keep them in place in a soil-less mix. They have minimal dirt and also absorb water and when mixed in the soil, make it airy for plants that need faster drainage.”
5. For persons who choose to try the soil-propagation technique, keep the soil evenly moist. Remember, new cuttings need light but not direct sunlight. Things can go south quickly when these conditions are not monitored, causing the new roots to deteriorate.