Propagating Plants

You can create more plants by propagating the ones you have with two different techniques: root cutting and air layering.

Air Layering

The air-layering technique is great for indoor plants.

Air Layering How-To

1. Remove all leaves along the stem of your house plant, tree, or shrub; use a one- or two-year-old growth.

2. Remove a V-shape segment of stem to about the middle of the stem (not too far or the stem will break).

3. Brush the cut surface with rooting hormone.

4. Wrap the entire stem in moist sphagnum moss.

5. Surround and seal the moss with plastic wrap.

6. Surround plastic wrap with tin foil.

7. In 2 to 3 months, the stem will be rooted and the plant can be removed and potted.

Root Cutting

The root-cutting technique can be used with a number of outdoor plants, such as oriental poppies, Crambe maritime and Crambe orientalis, Verbascum, Eryngium or sea hollies, Acanthus mollis or bear's breeches, and horseradish root, which was used on the show.

Root Cutting How-To

1. Remove plant from pot and shake off excess dirt.

2. Remove the largest of the roots, generally the size of your little finger or smaller for most plants.

3. Cut these into 2- to 3-inch lengths, making sure you keep the top end correctly identified.

4. Push each segment into a pot of potting soil so the tops are level with the soil.

5. Top off the pot with chicken grit or pea gravel.

6. Water and place in a cool area protected from extreme temperatures.

7. Each root will develop into an individual plant and can be transplanted into the garden the following autumn.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Dan Hinkley, author of "The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials," for sharing these gardening ideas. Special thanks to Monrovia Growers for giving members of our studio audience a Pink Chintz thyme plant.

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
February 5, 2009
Dan's the best. He challanges us and we learn so much. He's always facinating.