Free Shrubs from Plant Clippings for the Garden or Landscape

Compared to flowering plants, shrubs are an inexpensive landscape alternative at the local gardening or home improvement store.  If you want to fill up your landscape quickly, invest in shrubs and plant most types at least three feet apart to allow for growth spread.  However, if you only have a small area to fill or are making landscape changes in phases, you can try to propagate your own shrubs from clippings.  You can take the clippings from shrubs you already have or ask a friend for some from their bushes.   The process described below may not work with all shrubs.  I have had the best luck using this method with evergreen soft-stem Euonymus.  However it has worked with some flowering bushes and a few types of old fashioned Roses. 

Planted Euonymus Shrub Clipping
In early spring when many shrubs are putting out buds for new leaves and branches, you will typically do some pruning to make the shrub more uniform in size and shape.  When you do that pruning, clip those healthy-looking pencil-width branches into stems that are around 10-12 inches long with several leaves.  Save some of those stems to become new shrubs.  

To prepare the clippings, clear the bottom 5 inches of leaves and any tiny branches that may be on the saved stems.  Save more stems than you want bushes since not all of them will survive and become new shrubs.  Push the stems about 4 inches into soft ground or into a potting soil in a large pot to make it easier to control watering.  If planting in ground, soften the soil watering the area well or do plant the day after a rainfall.  You might want  to plant new shrub stems several inches from a fence and behind other short landscaping plants.  This protects them from the wind, still gets them the sun they need, makes sure they get watered as part of my regular landscape watering schedule, and it hides the fact that you are growing a lot of what looks like sticks the first year.  New roots will grow from the stem portion that is in the soil.  If you saved several stems, place them about 10-12 inches apart if you are putting them where you want them to grow.  Most of the plants will root within the first 3-4 months.  However, not all will root so you will notice some turn brown.   Since you do this in the spring, you may not have to water much.  However, you need to be sure the new starter plants get watered at least twice a week during their first 3 months.

If you want to move the shrubs that rooted from a pot or planted location, give them a year in their starter area first.  Then dig them up to move to their new location.  You may also need to space the shrubs that rooted at a later time to allow for their continued growth.   After the first year, you will need to trim about 2 inches of the top off the rooted stems to get it to begin to branch out and form a shrub.  It may take several years of care and trimming to get a shrub that looks as full as what is bought in a gallon container.  However, you will have bragging rights of personally propagating your own plants and all it had cost you was the little extra time  and water.  

For more on-line gardening articles by me, check the Garden label of this blog or review my how-to articles written in 2009: 

No comments: