Episode 66: propagation with Caro Langton and Rose Ray
You’ve gathered an awesome collection of houseplants, learning how to care for each and every one (with a few casualties along the way!) but what next? Propagation - the art and science of making more plants from the ones you already have - is a great way of getting to know your plants better, bulking up your collection and providing gifts for friends and family.
I interview Rose Ray and Caro Langton of green interiors firm Ro Co about their new book Root, Nurture, Grow. From leaf cuttings to air layering, it covers the tips and techniques that will help you improve your cuttings hit rate.
We begin with a bit of a distraction - talking about our dogs Huxley and Wolfie - and the wonderful charity that is The Cinnamon Trust - before getting onto discussing the book. I find out why they decided to focus on propagation for their subject matter, why they love grafting cacti, and which little-known propagation techniques we should all be adopting.
Below are some useful links to browse as you listen to the show…
Check out Rose and Caro’s first houseplant book (which is also excellent), House of Plants
Can’t picture the brightly-coloured grafted cacti I mention? They’re called moon cacti - and here’s a post about them from Laidback Gardener
If you haven’t listened already, check out episode 47 of On The Ledge, which focuses on propagating succulents.
Here’s some excellent advice on houseplant cuttings from friend of the show Alys Fowler
Here’s a little Instagram video of one of my favourite plants to propagate from leaf and petiole, the Peperomia.
When water propagating, small vessels can be ideal as they mean rooting hormones released by the cuttings will not be diluted too much. I often use small shot glasses for this purpose.
Question of the week
If you’re searching for a purple shamrock plant aka Oxalis triangularis, the end of September can be a lean time. I suggest a listener who’s looking to send one of these plants to her relatives in the UK tries Sarah Raven (where the plants seem to be in stock and it’s a firm I’ve used successfully in the past) or Gardens4You where she can buy 10 corms for £4.50 (NB I haven’t tried this firm out). Thanks to listener Joshua for pointing out that this plant is also in stock at Geo-Fleur.)
I also point out that the leaves of this plant are edible and taste rather deliciously lemony - but just take care to check out the guidance here before you try - and make sure you aren’t spraying the plant with anything other than water.
This week’s sponsor
Thanks to my sponsor for episode 66, Thejoyofplants.co.uk: over the next couple of weeks, they’re focusing on the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, and how to achieve this with houseplants.
Wabi sabi encourages us to embrace and celebrate our own imperfections, and that includes the perfect imperfections of our plants as well!
Social media makes us all compare ourselves unnecessarily with others, and in our plant-obsessed world, we also tend to strive for the Instagram-perfect portrait of our green companions. Wabi sabi is a way of life to simplify your life and own expectations and learning to celebrate its imperfections and uniqueness.
The Joy of Plants invite you to step into Yasuyo Harvey's house for wabi sabi style inspiration and we get a glimpse of the gorgeous plants in her home.
Visit the joy of plants for the latest plant-filled inspiration, care tips and DIY projects: check out the links below to find out more.
On The Ledge on tour
I’m conducting an evening of ‘Plant Therapy’ at Epanoui in Bedford, UK on October 4 - you can find out more and book tickets here.
On the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put this date in your diary NOW!
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