Monday, June 15, 2009

How To Propagate Cosmos

My experiments in propagating plants has extended to any and all plants that I have available in my garden. This includes some lovely Cosmo flower plants that I purchased from the local Home Depot. I watched a video where a fellow planted some Cosmos among his vegetable patches to brighten them up, and I wanted to do the same. Of course, the more the merrier, so here's how to propagate Cosmos.(When I purchased my cosmos they had not flowered yet, but see how pretty they have become?) First find a healthy Cosmo plant and look for some side shoots on the main plant.
Look for a shoot that has 3 to 5 leaf nodes on the stem, and cut under the last leaf node. Keep your cuttings fresh in water while you work. Don't let them dry out.
Use a sharp scissor to snip off the lower leaves, being careful not to damage the leaf node. The roots will grow from the last leaf node.
Fill a clean container with sterile soil. (Tip: Fill to heaping and then firm down soil.) Use a pencil or dibber to make a deep hole. Place your cutting into the hole and carefully push soil towards the stem to bury it. Gently firm down soil around cutting.
Add more cuttings as desired, and water generously. Place into a bright location with indirect sunlight. Too much sunlight will dry out the cuttings too quickly, so shade is good. Water daily to ensure that the cuttings never dry out. You can shower the whole plant, leaves and all, so that the whole plant gets a good soak each day. Ensure that your container has good drainage so that it doesn't drown in water.
In three weeks time, your cuttings will be ready to transplant. Gently tip your container to pour the cuttings out. Separate the cuttings from each other, and be careful not to damage the roots.
See the fine, white roots that have grown out from the leaf node? I have rinsed them out a little in a bucket of water to show you them.
Cosmos have much finer, angel hair-like roots compared to the impatiens and dahlias, huh?
After you replant the cuttings, water well. Water is very important to the success of cuttings. Dried out cuttings simply won't work so be sure to keep cuttings fresh in water after you cut them, and even after you separate them. I like to keep mine floating/submerged in water while I work so that they get a good drink of water before they try to grow roots or get used to a new environment. As long as your container has good drainage, watering every day will be A-okay. However, if your container doesn't have good drainage, you need to watch out for overwatering. (Tip: The soil should be damp, but not soaking.)

Happy Gardening!

How To Propagate Plants


madison house designs said...

I love reading your propagation how-to's. One of these days I'm actually going to put one into action. Thanks for taking the guesswork out of it. Your photos are clear and helpful too (especially for someone like me who has never attempted this stuff!). said...

Hi madison house designs!

I'm so glad that you like these tutorials! I really love experimenting with propagating plants, and I have found that some plants propagate better than others. If you want to try it one day, I'd recommend the impatiens and dahlias. They have the best success rates. Next are the cosmos and geraniums.


mike o'c said...

Wonderfully simple directions,step by visual step.amazed that the cosmos could be grown from cuttings as it looks so flimsy.Have grown 70 from seed,in differant composts,some are huge,others spindly,MUST mark the name of the compost next time.Site must be by an ex-trainer well used to teaching effectively. said...

Hi Mike o'c,

Thanks for leaving a message! You must have a pretty amazing garden to have 70 different cosmo plants in it! I'm jealous!

Good idea about marking the compost for next time. I'd love to find out what the good compost was! I've been adding mushroom manure to my soil in the garden and that works pretty well. I don't know if that would work well for starting seeds, but I do know that most indoor soil mixtures produce skinny seedlings. I think fertilizer is a must for most of those lousy indoor soil mixtures.

Good luck with your gardening!


Anonymous said...

Great blog... Can I do this in autum? Will they survive winter and is it better to do this in spring summer?