Got a bunch of empty pots and some sedum? Looking for something to do with both?
After seeing some pics (this post: http://garden.org/thread/view_... in this thread: The thread "Hylotelephium telephium subsp. telephium Candy™ Chocolate Drop" in Sedum forum) of @valleylynn's upright clippings, I thought I'd give it a shot with some of the sedums from my yard.
Why might you (or I) want to do this? In no particular order...
This is my first year gardening and I'm just kind of trying a bunch of things to see what works. One of my favorite things about sedums is the whole "growing new plants from cuttings" thing. For whatever reason, it's strange and fascinating to watch a whole plant grow from a little twig (compared to a seed). I'm fascinated by watching plants grow in general (even some grasses!), and the growth tends to be more noticeable when they're small, so that just makes the process that much more interesting.
I was hoping my kids would get into it as well, but so far they're just not that into plants. Maybe later... It does seem that this would be fun for little ones interested in biology (because cuttings are technically clones, and not offspring) or in plants in general.
- Something to do with plants that need to be replaced or are damaged.
It's always annoying when a squirrel or a stumbling pedestrian digs up or smashes something in my front sedum strip, but it's not as bad as it could be, because the plants usually spread and grow back! Even if the main plant is trashed badly enough that I need to remove it, there probably still are some intact sections to use as cuttings and start over.
- Save money.
If you're patient, you can get a ton of plants from one or two larger plants and still leave those initial plants healthy and viable. At $3-4 for each 4-inch container, flats of 18 sedums can add up quickly! I'm going to experiment with mass growing single types later. The slow growth should give me time to find a place to put them.
Depending on where you are and how much free time you have (I have very little; I'm lucky to be able to fit in one quick nursery trip per week, so I can't really be cruising around all day Saturday as I might wish... ), it can be hard to find large quantities of the same type of sedum, especially some of the hard-to-find types. If you happen to have some already, and you know you might want to lay out a swath of them in a couple months, there you go! You can set up something like this in a few hours whenever the time presents itself. I've done a bit of gardening by phone-flashlight this year.
It seems as if it would be a great way to test different soil types or treatments/additives, watering schedules, and plant placements without risking plants you've paid money for. Grow a flat of type X and then treat some of them differently to see what works.
Here's where I started (around 08/05/14)
I cut each of those up into a couple of pieces, depending on the size, shape, and leaf placement of the individual stalks, and then let them sit for a day or so to dry (very hot/sunny here):
When I do this again, I'm going to be a little more precise about the length of my cuttings -- so that they will be easier to plant and so that the growth will be a little more predictable. My whole theme for my first year of gardening is "experimentation," so I didn't worry too much.
I planted them in some of the MANY spare 4-inch containers I have lying around:
I water them lightly every night after the sun has passed over with a misting attachment on my hose.
And here's where they are after about 6 weeks:
(I've added a few since in the second series. I think the center, bottom one is album coral carpet and the bottom left is just a mashup of broken bits that have been knocked off other plants.)
The growth so far mirrors almost exactly what I've observed in the parent plants (I guess this is to be expected? Still interesting to me!). Note that the makinoi Ogun is dead already and the makinoi Variegatum & spathulifolium 'Carnea' are not doing well, comparatively, but they are still hanging on! This is pretty much the exact same thing they are doing in my yard. Palmeri just seems to be an incredibly slow grower for me. About the only thing that surprised me was the slow showing by the sarmentosum. The ones in my yard have proved to be very vigorous AND tough.