Annuals · Garden DIY · Houseplants

Taking Cuttings of Annuals

There is no doubt about it, gardening can be expensive. The cost of plants, tools and supplies add up quickly as we fill our carts at local garden centers. Anyone who knows me knows I am not, by nature, frugal. My husband often shakes his head over credit card statements wondering aloud if I have any idea how much money I spend at the garden center where I work.

Even I think I should curb my spending, but can this gardener turn over a new leaf? There are ways to save money that also allow gardeners to continue gardening in the winter – a win/win for this gardener.

I just took cuttings of some favorite annuals – coleus, geraniums and sweet potato vines – to start new plants for next year’s garden. Here’s how I did it.

Cuttings of Geraniums (Pelargonium)

I love the fancy leaf geraniums and, with alcohol-wiped floral snips, took cuttings of two types, cutting stems just above a set of leaves. (Short cuttings work better than long ones.)

I removed the lower leaves.

I dipped the stems in rooting hormone and then stuck them in a tray filled with moistened perlite.

Geraniums don’t care for very humid conditions so I did not cover them.

After I had taken all my geranium cuttings, two plants were left with healthy basal foliage. I decided to pot these up and grow them on as houseplants.

Cuttings of Coleus


Using a pair of pruners cleaned with an alcohol wipe, I took cuttings of stems just above a set of leaves. (Long stems can be cut into shorter sections and all pieces rooted.) I removed the lower leaves from each stem.

I dipped stems into rooting hormone and placed them in holes made with pencils in moistened perlite. After gently pressing the perlite against stems, the tray was covered with a plastic cover to keep humidity high while cuttings root.

I left some of the cuttings with longer stems in a glass of water where they will also root if I remember to change the water every couple of days.

Cuttings of Sweet Potato Vine

I took cuttings of my sweet potato vines in the same fashion as I did with the geraniums and coleus.

I rinsed them in the sink to get rid of any insects trying to hitch a way inside.

I removed most of the lower leaves and simply put them in a vase of water, making sure no foliage was in the water.

Then I dug up the remaining plants and carefully excavated their tubers. I lightly brushed the soil from them and stored them in vermiculite in a cool, dry spot for winter. I grew three different varieties of sweet potato vines this year and the tubers of each variety look different – isn’t that interesting?

Taking these cuttings and ‘planting’ them was quick and easy. If all goes well, I’ll save money when I don’t have to repurchase these plants next spring. That will make my husband happy. Continuing to care for these babies makes this gardener happy.

But instead of shaking his head over credit card statements, now he just sighs when he looks at the counter in the kitchen filled with trays of cuttings, vases of cuttings, and pots of plants.

Garden with me!

(Do not take cuttings of patented plants. These are prohibited by law from propagation. Check out the plant variety on line to determine whether or not it is a patented plant.)


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