Easy Mini Greenhouse

Spring is a great time to take cuttings from lots of plants, and often there are directions to “put the cuttings in a plastic bag” or some such to help the cuttings retain moisture. I’ve always found the plastic bags a little cumbersome, but I’ve hit upon a super easy solution that’s worked like a dream (pun!). Have a look see.

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propagating kalanchoe

Yeah, this sign I found posted on a Chinese takeout dive, complete with typo, pretty much sums up the story ’round here. Sorry. Cold. Close (to the breaking point of winter madness). Thank you.

Ah, well. There are bright spots, of course. The Kalanchoe experiment worked. All three cuttings are doing well and are even showing flower buds about two and a half weeks after the fact.

kalanchoe cuttings

Kalanchoe cuttings

Kalanchoe cuttings

Given the success of these, I’ll start some more cuttings this week from the original Kalanchoe and “divide” (i.e. slice and dice) the bigger, woodier stem into two or three smaller plants. I’m definitely going to strip more leaves from the cuttings’ stems this go round and keep just two or three sets of bigger leaves. When it’s all said and done, my goal is to have six or so hearty Kalanchoe plants for one of the front flower beds that I’ll set out in late May and another two or three to give as gifts. (More is better, of course!)

Beyond the Kalanchoe, there’s a fair amount to be done. I’ll have to travel soon, so while I’m eager to start my spring veggie seedlings, I think for now I’m going to focus on deciding what to grow in the spring garden, buying any seeds I need for that and planning out what chores have to be done as soon as the weather starts to break in a few weeks (fingers crossed!). I also have some established thyme cuttings from late last year, the lettuce starts I need to repot and a Christmas cactus that has needed dividing and repotting for, oh, about a year now. More on those later!


Keeping Up with the Kalanchoe

I feel a little bit like one-note Nancy (or, I guess, two-note Nancy) just talking about the lettuce and Kalanchoe but, after all, there is two feet of snow on the ground, so pickins are slim when it comes to green stuff right now.

So, I did as I was told and heartlessly let the Kalanchoe cutting rest on a plate out of direct sunlight. They got a little floppy when I checked them the next first day, and I started to see the “scabbing” of the cuts.

Day 1

Day 1

Not much change on the second day and, really, why devote any more space than necessary to scabby cacti?

By the third day, they were definitely ready to plant but … well, see, the thing is … I forgot to. So, they just kind of sat there for, um, a few more days. Whoops. I had to clean the house, and then we had a Super Bowl party and then I just didn’t feel like doing anything that wasn’t watching TV and eating Fritos.

So, shame on me. But late Monday night, I put the cuttings into some moist cactus potting mix. It’s too early to call, but I think they’ll be OK, despite my neglect.

kalanchoe cuttings

CAM03466[1]The bigger leaves are still a bit soft and floppy and I may actually end up clipping those off. I suspect I left a few too many on the cuttings in the first place.

A few other notes: I kept them out of direct light for the first two days. I think I read somewhere that the first while after you transplant, light isn’t helpful for the the plants to establish their new root systems and can actually be detrimental. Is that true? I have no idea, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Today, I gave them about two hours of sunlight, and I’ll increase their exposure a little each day.

While the soil mix is moist (ugh, I know), I’ve also been spritzing them with water once or twice a day.

I’m not sure how long it’ll take before I know if I killed them or I killed it when it comes to taking kalanchoe cuttings, but you can bet your bippy I’ll let you know either way.