It’s so easy and you’ll be rewarded with blooms!
Your lily flowers have probably seen better days this year so why not try and increase your stock? Lilies, as well as most other bulbs, are keen to propagate, it cam become a little bit of an obsession – next year you’ll soon have pots and pots of deliciously fragment blooms you won’t know what to do! Once you’ve potted up your scales and bulblets following the guide below, grow them in a frost free greenhouse over winter and plant them out in spring once established.
Step by Step
- Lift out a healthy lily bulb by the plant clean it and discard any damaged outer scales.
- Carefully snap off some scales from the bulb with as much of the base of the scale intact as possible.
- Put the scales in a bag of coir compost and handful of perlite. Shake, seal and put in the airing cupboard for six weeks.
- Bulblets will appear on the scales. When they do, pot them on individually covered with a layer of compost.
They’re particularly useful for propagating mahonia
It’s key semi-ripe cutting time, but there’s more than one form of this useful propagation technique. A mallet cutting is slightly more unusual, but worth knowing about. It’s particularly useful for mahonia, but can be used for any shrub. These cuttings are essentially new sideshoots with a piece of older, woodier stem attached and, if held upside down, looks like a little mallet. With plants that have opposite buds, there will be two shoots protruding from each ‘mallet’ section. In this case, the mallet can be split down the middle to create two cuttings. Once prepared, place your cuttings somewhere warm and bright, but out of direct sun. A shaded greenhouse is ideal, or a bright windowsill that doesn’t get hot, midday sun.
How to take your cuttings
1. Find sections of healthy stem (here pictured on a mahonia) with woody, hard growth and new sideshoots that are green. Cut down to a leaf node so regrowth is neat and healthy.
2. Trim the stem down to a short 1cm (½in) section, with the shoot in the middle. Trim off all the leaves except the top two or three. If leaves are large, snip them in half to reduce moisture loss.
3. Dip each mallet cutting in hormone rooting powder and plunge each one, mallet side down, into a gritty mix of cuttings compost. Water well and cover with a plastic bag.
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