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Creating a New Garden with Seeds and Cuttings from Your Old One

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Your garden is part and parcel with your house. It may say "home" to you as much as your furniture or knick-knacks on the mantle. If you have sold your house, it might not be feasible for you to uproot everything in your garden and replant it all in your new location. But, it might be hard to part with something you've put so much time, effort, and love into, especially if your plants are exceptional specimens. Fortunately, you can take cuttings or seeds from some of your plants and start a garden with the same family tree as your old one.

TIP: Whether harvesting cuttings or seeds, pick the best plants to be the parents of your new garden. If you know you are going to be moving in advance, try to mark which plants you'll want to take with you, in case they lose their petals and leaves by the time you leave.

Working with Cuttings

This process is effective for most perennials.

  • Cut several stems (they can include flowers) from different parts of the plant so that you don't leave holes in it or make it look lopsided.


  • Cut a stem, from the bottom, into a 4- to 6-inch (10-15 cm) length, removing the leaves except for a few at the top.


  • Dip the freshly-cut bottom into some rooting hormone (not too much) if you like; it will really help things move along.


  • Put it in a small (2- to 4-inch) plastic nursery container with potting soil.


  • Place the little pot in a clear plastic bag. (You might be able to fit more than one in each bag.) Use a pencil or something similar to keep the walls of the bag from touching the cutting. Close the top of the bag with a twist-tie.


  • Keep the cutting in filtered light; humidity is good for it, but direct sunlight could just cook the poor thing.


  • The idea of the plastic bag is to cut down on watering, because too much will cause the stem to rot. Before watering or misting the cuttings, make sure they need it. The soil should feel pretty dry before you do so.


  • Once they have roots and leaves of their own, you can transfer them out of the plastic bag, and slowly, with some fertilizer and less and less filtered sunlight, get them ready to be planted in your new garden.

Harvesting Seeds

Harvesting Seeds
Different plants are going to present different times at which you should harvest their seeds. Find out specific information for each plant. As a rule of thumb, you should let seeds dry on the plant for as long as possible before taking them for yourself; keep an eye on them.

Separate any casing the seeds are in: pods, fruit, seed heads, etc. (Seed heads are what appear on flowers when they have gone to seed.) Some seeds have gelatinous or incredibly hard protective layers. You may have to soak these in water or some other liquid to strip them of their coating. Look up what to do about your particular seeds; you don't want to damage their ability to sprout when you start your new garden. Once you have nothing but seed, put them in labeled envelopes and store those in a jar. Keep it in a cool, dry place.

TIP: Try to find a nursery in your new town. You can get your questions answered and begin getting to know your new surroundings. You might even meet some new friends.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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