Tips

Rooting Right in the Vase

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The twigs of some shrubs and trees that you'll want to cut for bouquets seem so happy about being plunked into water that they leaf out and grow roots right in the vase.  Wonderful!

 

The classics are fast-growing shrubs and trees that are happy when there's a lot of water for them as they grow out in your garden.  Also shrubs whose branches tend to root into the ground all on their own if they get low enough to touch. 

 

—  Willows.  Almost any willow you'd call a pussy willow: big and broad upright shrubs with the fuzzy silver blooms in late Winter.  And any of the tree-sized willows too.  (Gray-leaved willows and rock-garden dwarfs aren't quite as easy; we'll look at propagating them another time.)

 

—  Siberian dogwoods.  These are essential shrubs, with colorful Winter bark and Summer foliage alike.  They'll root almost as you watch.  They are also eager to root when you weigh one of the stems down to the ground with a rock so it stays steadily on contact with the soil.  In a couple of months, you can sever it from the mother plant.  See the very first article on yellow-leaved Siberian dogwood here; there will be other articles following this shrub through the seasons.

 

—  Forsythias.  These are famous for rooting where their arching stem tips touch the ground.  See the May Bouquet video for gold-leaved forsythia. 

 

 

I had Siberian and forsythia cuttings for party favors just this week; it was easy to include them in the goodie bag by first poking them into a florist's water pick, which you can get whole packages of at a florist supply house on-line.

 

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First fill the pick with water. 

 

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Then press the flexible cap on.

 

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The water stays in the pick, even if it's upside down.

 

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Then poke the twig through the flexible hole in the cap.

 

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There's only enough water in the pick for a couple of days, though, and your twigs will need a couple of weeks to root.

 

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So pull the stems out of the picks and put them in a glass of water. 

 

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Put the glass in the window so the twigs get sun and warmth, which will help them leaf out as well as root out.

 

And in a few weeks, their roots could be an inch long or more.  The plants are ready, and can be potted up if you're planning to give them out.  (Don't try to poke them back into the water pick:  The new roots will be torn off.)  Or they can be planted out into the garden.  Water them faithfully for the first week or two when they're in the pot or the ground:  The roots that they grew when soaking in water will appreciate that time to get famiiar with working as roots in soil instead.

 

These colorful, uncommon, and easy-to-grow plants were pretty enough for you to want to use them in a bouquet in the first place.  Now you'll have some starter plants to pass along so that friends can enjoy them too.

 
 
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