Plant Parenting: Pruning & Training a Hoya

August 2, 2019

My groovy bush hoya (Hoya cumingiana) has gotten a tad leggy, so off with its head! This species isn't terribly common in the trade, but I love it's tough tiny leaves. Plants produce yellow/green flowers.

My leggy Hoya cumingiana
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

I decided to cut back all the main stems to relieve apical dominance and encourage more lateral branching. Translated, that means I'm going to make my bush Hoya more bushy! When you cut off the tip of a stem or branch, plant hormones send signals that spur new bud shoot growth at the nodes below.

Taking hoya tip cutting
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

A Hoya bud shoot
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

A hoya lateral bud shoot elongating. You can see this stem apparently broke off at some point, leaving a callused stub. Afterwards, a new lateral bud shoot emerged.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

The tip cuttings are now water rooting and I also decided to train up the stems on a vertical support to better control this little beastie. 🌱 Plus, it looks cool!

Multiple Hoya lateral bud shoots.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

My trained up Hoya cumingiana.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

If you love looking at plant photos you can find me on Instagram.

And definitely check out my plant propagation book PLANT PARENTING


Plant Parenting: New Roots at Plant Wound

July 31, 2019

Plants such as citrus and peppers can generate new adventitious roots, or crown roots, from the base of where the stem has been cut or wounded. These types of roots develop only after a wound or cut is made, such as when you take a cutting from a plant stem.

These crown roots (wound adventitious roots) developed on a citrus cutting after the stem was cut and then held in an aeroponic propagator for several weeks.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

These crown roots (wound adventitious roots) developed on a citrus cutting after the stem was cut and then held in an aeroponic propagator for several weeks.

Learn more about plant propagation techniques in my book PLANT PARENTING


Plant Parenting: Tiny Seeds can be Hard to Collect & Germinate

July 30, 2019

Seed from some types of plants can be difficult to collect or germinate. Certain succulents, for example, produce seed so tiny it can be challenging to save and germinate the seeds, regardless of whether you’re new to plant propagation or an experienced grower.

Tiny Mammillaria cactus and living stone (lithops) seedlings several weeks after germination.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

For plants with tiny seeds, you’ll need to use care and patience to germinate them successfully and grow them into mature plants. Follow the germination directions provided carefully!

Learn more about successful seed germination and collection in my book PLANT PARENTING


Plant Parenting: Cloning Succulents

July 29, 2019

Succulents are so fun to clone (propagate) because you can create a new plant simply by rooting a single leaf.

They are an easy way to start on the journey of making more plants because relatively simple to root (just don't overwater), and have the cutest babies!

An adventitious bud/shoot has developed at the base of this echeveria after it was placed in a container with potting mix.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

This echeveria dropped a leaf. So I after letting it set out to dry and callus, I set it in some potting soil, where it developed new roots and a new bud shoot.

Learn more in my plant propagation book PLANT PARENTING.


Plant Parenting: Some Plants are Female or Male

July 28, 2019

When it comes to pollination, you need to get to know how your plant flowers and pollinates. Some plants have flowers with all the parts needed for successful pollination. Other plants have separate female or male flowers on the same plant. Other plants have female or male flowers only on separate plants.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

For example, holly plants have separate female or male plants. Only female plants of holly plants produce berries, once their female flowers are pollinated by pollen from a nearby male plant. For plants with separate sex flowers, you'll need a specimen of both for successful pollination.

Learn more in my plant propagation book PLANT PARENTING


Plant Parenting: Make Plant Clones From a Mother Plant

July 27, 2019

Many plants can generate new root tissue (adventitious roots) and new shoot tissue (adventitious shoots) from other parts of the plant such as a stem or leaf. Once the new roots and shoots form from the existing plant tissue, a new identical plant clone develops. The resulting new plant will identical to the mother plant from which you took the cutting.

I accidentally broke this piece of African violet crown away from the rest of the plant. I supported it in water and rerooted the crown, making a new clone of the mother plant.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Mother plants are so named simply because it provides the material to grow the new baby plants.

Learn more in my book PLANT PARENTING


Plant Parenting: Some Plant Cuttings Need a Callus

July 27, 2019

A callus often develops at the base of a cutting at the site of a wound, when conditions are good for rooting. A callus will look like a knot or knuckle growing at the base of a cut stem or leaf.

This pepper cutting has developed a knuckle-like callus at the base of the cut stem; crown roots will soon develop.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Some plants will develop a callus and adventitious roots simultaneously, while other plants must first develop a callus first, before new roots can grow.

Learn more in my plant propagation book PLANT PARENTING


Plant Parenting: Nigella Seed Pods

July 26, 2019

Nigella seed pods are quite beautiful and easy to collect; and the bounty of dark black seeds spread easily around the garden without your help. Ok, so they can spread all over the place in sunny locations! But they are beautiful and are one of my favorite wildflower seeds to collect.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Nigella is a example of a perfect flower - one that has both male & female parts, thus able to self-pollinate. Allow these fanciful seed pods to dry completely on the plant for seeds to be mature. Seed pods will turn completely tan or brown when ready.

Fun Fact: Nigella seeds are edible! Many people use them as a seasoning.


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