Propagating Plants Vegetatively


Starting Coleus and Pineapple Sage from cuttings in September.  Choose beautiful containers, glass vases, and / or interestingly shaped recycled glass jars for the cuttings whenever possible.  We sometimes label students’ plants with Dover stickers depicting famous paintings.
IMG_5323closeup of rooted impatiens
By late November, the Coleus and some of the Pineapple Sage plants have developed roots and been transferred to pots with soil.  The New Guinea Impatiens cuttings (that were taken in September and early October) are also ready to be potted.  Spider Plant cuttings are sporting water roots in addition to the chubby aerial roots that they already had when they were trimmed from their parent plants.  These are also ready for new homes in soil-filled pots. 


IMG_5332 rooted plants
The rosy pink roots and new blossoms of this variety of Impatiens embellish a late fall windowsill.  These water-rooted plants make a fascinating and beautiful addition to your home or classroom – even as they provide many opportunities for learning about plant growth and development.  In this photo, you can also see the roots and sprouts of the Narcissus bulbs that we start in bowls of rocks and water for Christmas.

Living organisms have evolved so many ways to keep their spark of life going!  October is an excellent time in New Hampshire to learn about the many adaptations that allow plants to survive the approach of cold weather and the diminished quantities of sunlight available during the day.  In addition to learning about seed dispersal, our children (especially those in the after-school garden club) are busy digging up and potting some of the more delicate plants so that these can brighten the classrooms (and survive!) in the warm, well-watered settings of the school’s interior.  The youngsters are also starting numerous stem cuttings in jars and vases of water on south facing window sills.  Some years, they try a few root cuttings as well.  The goal, besides learning more botany and practicing stewardship, is to increase the quantities of certain favorite plants in the school collection – plants such as Geraniums, Pineapple Sage, New Guinea Impatiens, Coleus, Rhizomatous Begonias, and Echinacea / Coneflowers.

The newly propagated plants, once rooted, are placed in pots and shared with other classrooms, taken home, or sold in the garden club plant sales.  This is also the time of year when teams of students in various classes weigh, measure, draw, and plant the tulip and daffodil bulbs which will help us in April welcome in the spring.  But that’s a topic for another page!

Propagating Plants Vegetatively

Here’s the pdf for this particular take-home sheet.  It’s used to provide the verbal framework for the hands-on activities themselves:  Vegetative Plant Propagation NOFA-NH