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.

Plant Parenting: Make New Succulents from Leaf Cuttings

July 4, 2019

Many succulents can generate new root and bud tissue from the base of a fallen leaf. The leaf will typically form a callus, and then new adventitious roots will form, followed by an adventitious bud and new shoot.

Different stages of succulent plant development.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Above, a fallen echeveria leaf develops new adventitious roots at its base, followed by an adventitious bud and shoot, which then develop into a clone of the original mother plant. Cool!

If you want to learn more about plant propagation, and all the different types of cuttings you can take to make more plants, check out my book PLANT PARENTING

Plant Parenting: Grow Peperomia From Leaf Cutting

July 3, 2019

Certain plants, such as the popular houseplants peperomia and begonia, can develop new roots and buds on the leaf petiole and even from the veins along the leaf itself. These types of plants are masters of multiplication and can be propagated in a number of different ways.

New adventitious roots and a bud and shoot have developed at the base of this peperomia leaf petiole.​
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

If you look closely at the photo, you'll see a new adventitious roots and a new tiny bud shoot developing. This will turn into a new baby clone plant! However, don’t expect your tomatoes or citrus plants to sprout new roots from just a leaf; the cells in their leaf and petiole tissue can’t grow new root or shoot tissue.You'l need to get to know how your chose plant can, and can't, make new roots and shoots from cuttings.

Learn more about how to take these plant cuttings in my book PLANT PARENTING

Plant Parenting:Tomatoes Grow Air Roots!

July 2, 2019

New adventitious roots and buds can develop at the base of a leaf, leaf petiole, stem internode, node, or at the base where a stem has been cut, depending on the plant species. Have you ever been instructed to plant tomatoes deeper in the soil so that you bury part of the stem? That’s because tomatoes grow adventitious roots along their stems, which can make the plants stronger and more vigorous.

Adventitious root initials developing on this tomato stem.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

You can clearly see the adventitious roots growing along the stems of this potted tomato plant. These stems are good candidates to provide cuttings, since root tissue is already growing.

To learn more about how to take cuttings, and make more tomato plants, check out my book PLANT PARENTING

Plant Parenting: Pilea Make Pups Under the Soil

July 1, 2019

Can't get enough Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides)? Me neither! Luckily this beautiful houseplant is a prolific producer of baby plants, all on it's own.

Chinese Money Plant

Chinese Money Plant
One of my lovely Pileas perched in a window
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Pilea can be propagated by removing these offsets, or pups, that grow from the base of the main plant stem. These pups develop their own roots and can be cut away from the mother plant and potted up.

Want to learn how to take these clone cuttings...and all sorts of other types of cuttings? Be sure to pick up my book PLANT PARENTING

Plant Parenting: Seeds Can Vary Greatly in Size

June 30, 2019

Seeds of succulents and cactus can vary dramatically in size, shape, and hardness. Some are soft and barely bigger than a speck of dust (Lithops spp.), while others are large with hard seeds coats that require scarification (Tephrocactus spp.).

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

The size of your plant's seeds will determine how you sow them and how deep you plant them. Teeny tiny seeds can be planted using a seeder tool, which helps you plant tiny seeds at the correct spacing, without wasting or losing seeds!

Learn all about seeds and special germination techniques in my new book PLANT PARENTING

Plant Parenting: Recycle Plastic Containers for Plant Cuttings

June 30, 2019

You don’t always need fancy tools to propagate more plants. And if you’re looking to ways to recycle or buy less new plastic I show you some good tips in my new book PLANT PARENTING. I often reuse produce containers, like this container that held cherry tomatoes, as mini-greenhouses for starting cuttings or seeds. It’s the perfect little humidity dome with ventilation. There’s a happy little baby peperomia cutting in there! This would also be a great container to use for germinating cactus and succulent seeds, microgreens, or wheatgrass.

Recycled container for plant cuttings

Recycled container for plant cuttings
I rooted this peperomia cutting in potting mix in this recycled food container.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

Recycled Plant Propagation Container

Recycled Plant Propagation Container
This cherry tomato container from the store is the perfect little cutting terrarium!

You can also use a variety of other plastic containers with clear covers. You know all those take out containers that come with clear plastic lids or small vegetable containers from restaurants or the grocery store? I use them frequently as mini-seed germination greenhouses.

This is a great way to stretch your gardening budget and to recycle and reuse this type of plastic. We are all looking for ways to reduce our plastic consumption and make our plant growing hobby more sustainable.

If you want to learn exactly how to take different types of plant cuttings, start seeds successfully, and discover cool plant propagation tools, check out my book PLANT PARENTING.

Plant Parenting: Flower Pollination

June 29, 2019

In the outdoor garden, wind, and pollinators, such as bees, wasps, butterflies, and a multitude of other insects, aid the pollination process. Insects are attracted to flowers as a source of food.

These bees are busy feeding on nectar from the scabiosa flowers. They are also moving pollen between the flowers.
PC: Leslie F. Halleck

While visiting flowers, pollinators pick up pollen on their bodies. The insects then move the pollen around on the flower or transport it to other nearby flowers. It’s quite fun to watch and a great alternative to TV.

If you are growing fruiting plants, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, or peppers, you might have to do some hand pollination yourself to make sure flowers are pollinated and set fruit!

Learn more about the basics of pollination and hand pollination in my book PLANT PARENTING

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