Metroplus

Taking to the cuttings

The rainy season is great for gardeners. And yes buying a collection of plants from a nursery can set you back quite a bit. However, if you are patient and want to grow your own plant, this is the season for it.

Rewind to the Bangalore of the ‘70’s and the ‘80’s, when keen gardners waited for the rainy season to get clippings from neighbours and friends to plant.

Another great way was to slap some compost in a plastic bag which was tied artfully on the branches of a croton. In a few weeks the croton sprouted roots into the bag and could be snipped off and made into another plant.

“I have planted Basale Soppu, a slimy leafed creeper which makes delicious dal. I stick in the thick stems first in water for a couple of days and then plant it in soil. Amazing to see how strong plants are - you cut them and strip them and then try to revive them ... and they oblige!” shares Keerti Ramachandra. Samir Tuli waxes poetic, , “The heat was oppressive, the garden dry; An attempt at life, I wanted to try; put down a stick in the mud; And… yes life burst forth as a bougainvillea bud. A miracle, a wish, a prayer, you know, If your thumbs are green, what you sow will grow.”

Pratima Das says: “I just plucked a twig off a bougainvillea, about six months ago, brought it home and tucked it into a pot full of compost. It is a many limbed little bush now and I am waiting for it to flower. I have done it with crotons and frangipani too.”

Jacqueline Colaco says, “Once mint leaves are plucked off for kitchen use, I stick them into some mud and in the rains they shoot up and put out new leaves in no time.”

“I try growing cuttings of any plant that catches my fancy. Almost every single one takes,” says Christine Pereira. “I took a stem of a croton and put it in pot which had a mix of soil and home- made compost,” says Tara Sinha. “This was during last monsoons. It lay in a shady spot for two months, and then started sprouting new leaves. It is a young and healthy plant now.”

So, just get clippings of your favourite bougainvillea, coleus or croton and put them down in a pot full of compost, during this wet and magical season. You could be surprised if one or two of the clippings grow into a strong and healthy plant for you.


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 7:29:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/taking-to-the-cuttings/article7291750.ece

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