Grow Ornamental Grasses

The easiest and most effective way to propagate them is through simple division. Of course you will need at least one parent plant of each variety that you would like to grow. If you shop around you might be able to find some 4″ inch pots at a fair price.

One of each variety is good for a start. I find that the best time of the year to divide them is in the spring, just before the new growth emerges. If you buy the stock plants in the early spring, you might be able to divide them right away. If you buy them at any other time of the year, just plant them in your garden or other suitable location, knowing that you are going to dig them up in a few months, or a year or so.

When spring arrives you can divide them at any time as long as they are not well into putting on new growth. The earlier the better. To divide them simply dig up the root mass and start dividing it into pieces. The divisions do not have to be to be very large. It’s difficult to describe, but as long as you have some roots, the new plant is likely to grow. If you have small young plants you can probably just tear the root mass apart with your hands, but if the root mass is very big then you are going to need some tools. You might need some heavy duty tools!

Last spring I divided several grass plants that had been in my landscape for a few years. When I dug out the root mass it was much larger and more dense than I expected. Using a very good digging spade and some real elbow power I was able to chop the root mass into quarters, and I replanted the quarters back into my landscape. That still left many clumps that I wanted to divide into very small plants that I could pot up in 2 quart containers. The root mass was too dense to tear apart with my hands, so I literally got a hammer and a 4″ wide mason’s chisel and chiseled off pieces. It worked and I now have a couple of hundred beautiful little grass plants in 2 quart containers.

Since then I have talked with a friend of mine who works for a large wholesale grower, and he told me that you never want to let an ornamental grass plant get that big if you intend to divide it. He said they plant small divisions in the field in the spring, and dig them up the following spring and divide them again. He assured me that if you get them just 12 months later, they can be easily torn apart by hand.

Secret of Rooting Cuttings

“Rooting Hardwood Cuttings of Deciduous Plants”

Hardwood cuttings are much more durable than softwood cuttings which is why hardwoods are the best technique for the home gardener. A deciduous plant is a plant that loses its leaves during the winter. All plants go dormant during the winter, but evergreens keep their foliage. Many people don’t consider Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Mountain Laurel evergreens, but they are. They are known as broad leaf evergreens. Any plant that completely loses its leaves is a deciduous plant.

Of the two hardwood techniques is one better than the other? It depends on exactly what you are rooting, what the soil conditions are at your house, and what Mother Nature has up her sleeve for the coming winter.

I have experienced both success and failure using each method. Only experimentation will determine what works best for you. Try some cuttings using each method.

When doing hardwood cuttings of deciduous plants, you should wait until the parent plants are completely dormant. This does not happen until you’ve experienced a good hard freeze where the temperature dips down below 32 degrees F. for a period of several hours. Here in northeastern Ohio this usually occurs around mid November.

Unlike softwood cuttings of deciduous plants, where you only take tip cuttings from the ends of the branches, that rule does not apply to hardwood cuttings of deciduous plants. For instance, a plant such as Forsythia can grow as much as four feet in one season. In that case, you can use all of the current years growth to make hardwood cuttings. You might be able to get six or eight cuttings from one branch. Grapes are extremely vigorous. A grape vine can grow up to ten feet or more in one season. That entire vine can be used for hardwood cuttings. Of course with grape vines, there is considerable space between the buds, so the cuttings have to be much longer than most other deciduous plants. The average length of a hardwood grape vine cutting is about 12″ and still only has 3 or 4 buds. The bud spacing on most other deciduous plants is much closer, so the cuttings only need to be about 6- 8″ in length.

Making a deciduous hardwood cutting is quite easy. Just collect some branches (known as canes) from the parent plants. Clip these canes into cuttings about 6″ long. Of course these canes will not have any leaves on them because the plant is dormant, but if you examine the canes closely you will see little bumps along the cane. These bumps are bud unions. They are next year’s leaf buds or nodes, as they are often called.

When making a hardwood cutting of a deciduous plant it is best to make the cut at the bottom, or the butt end of the cutting just below a node, and make the cut at the top of the cutting about 3/4″ above a node. This technique serves two purposes. One, it makes it easier for you to distinguish the top of the cutting from the bottom of the cutting as you handle them. It also aids the cutting in two different ways. Any time you cut a plant above a node, the section of stem left above that node will die back to the top node. So if you were to leave 1/2″ of stem below the bottom node, it would just die back anyway. Having that section of dead wood underground is not a good idea. It is only a place for insects and disease to hide.

Info of Planting Summer Flower Bulbs

Summer flower bulbs should be planted in early spring. They need to be planted in an area with adequate drainage. Flower bulbs will rot in standing water. For this reason, they should never be planted at the bottom of a hill.

Summer flower bulbs vary in their sun requirements. Dahlias, lilies, and daylilies, for example, thrive in full sun to partial shade. Gladiolus, on the other hand, requires full sun and iris prefer partial shade. When planning your arrangement, pay special attention to the amount of sun your garden or flowerbed receives and pick your flower bulbs accordingly.

All summer flower bulbs require loose, workable soil. If the area has never been used for growing, add some compost or peat moss. Most bulbs will not require any special fertilization, but follow your package directions carefully.

These flowers work best in masses. For the best effect, do not plant a single bulb or a thin line of bulbs. They look best when they are clumped as in the wild.

Summer flower bulbs should be planted when the soil is dry and free-flowing. Did the hole six to eight inches deep, and place the bulb in with the pointed side facing up. Cover the hole with dirt and pack firmly. Water thoroughly.

If you plant your summer flower bulbs in an appropriate location and give them the most basic attention, you will be abundantly rewarded. When all the other plants and flowers are dying, you will have a bed of bright, vibrant flowers.

Care for Your Fresh Cut Flower Arrangement

Your first strategy for having flower arrangements in your house for the longest possible time is to carefully select the source of those flowers. Flowers should be purchased from a professional floral supplier who has insured that the flowers have been harvested, processed and shipped following all the best practices from the farm to the distributors and finally to you. There are several care and handling best practices, the most important being maintaining a temperature of 33-34 degrees F. Seemingly small delays in shipping, or even being placed on a truck next to a box of flowers that have not been pre-cooled can raise the temperature of the flowers in the subject box several degrees. Those couple of degrees means a couple of days off the vase life of the flowers.

All that being said, other than buying from a reputable, well educated floral distributor, there’s not much you can do to control any of that, so, let’s assume the flowers you’ve received have been treated well from farm to home. Now, what can you do to make the best of an already great thing?

Temperature: Keep your flowers away from heat sources and direct sunlight. Though it is not reasonable to keep flowers cool in the home as a florist would in a cooler, temperature still makes a big difference. Never display your arrangement on a radiator cover, above a heating vent, on a tv or other appliance that gives off heat, or in a window where the sun would heat the space.

Water: Be sure to replenish the water in the container regularly. Flowers that have been processed correctly will continue to transpire throughout their stay in your home. The flowers will need a source of water to keep the stems, foliage and petals turgid and fresh.

Food: On the plant, flowers get their nourishment to develop and grow from the roots and from photosynthesis. Off the plant, this process virtually stops. However, the flower will continue to develop, buds will open and flowers will expand. Some stems will even continue to grow. There is some reserve of sugar or food in the cut flower, but not as much as the flower will need for optimum performance and color. Florists use preservatives in the vase solution to provide this food. When you receive flowers in a box or loose, you should also receive a packet of preservative powder. Follow the mixing instructions on the packet to make a vase solution that will prolong the life of your flowers.

Control Bacteria: The water in the vase or container can quickly become a bacteria soup. All it takes is a few stray pieces of plant tissue and some latent bacteria. Add some sugar from the preservative and you’ve got a recipe for cloudy, smelly water. The problem is not just an aesthetic one. Bacteria in the water will form plugs in the stem of the flower, blocking the water from flowing through the stem of the flower. A good floral preservative contains an antibacterial agent to stop all of this from happening. One caution though. If you do not follow the instructions for mixing the vase solution, and end up making a solution that is too weak, you may be providing enough sugar to grow bacteria while not providing enough antibacterial agents to stop the growth. This is a case where clear water with no preservative would be better than an improperly mixed solution. As soon as you notice that the water in your vase has started to become cloudy, it’s time to dump the water, rinse the stems, give them a clean cut and put them back in the cleaned vase with fresh water. This alone will double the life of your flowers.