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Plant propagation with Ciscoe

Turn one hydrangea into 20 with this trick. #k5evening

SEATTLE — Seattle gardening expert Ciscoe Morris is a big fan of fall freebies in the garden.

"It's early fall, and this is a great time to get free plants! So I'm gonna propagate one of my favorites!” he declared.

The first thing you need is good seeding mix, soil that’s specially mixed to grow cuttings and seeds.

“This type of soil mix is kind of hard to get moist so it's really smart to add some water and get it a little bit moist before you stick it in the pot,” Ciscoe said as he mixed the soil with water in a sanitized bucket.

“And by the way, everything I'm using I have sanitized with a 10% bleach solution,” he said. You could also use Listerine or Lysol to sanitize. Sanitization is important to keep disease from spreading to the fragile cuttings. Even the pots that the cuttings go into should be sanitized (or new) before soil is put in.

Ciscoe is propagating a hydrangea. 

"This is Miss Saori, one of the best hydrangeas I've ever grown,” he said, grabbing a pair of small sharp pruners to take his cuttings. "One of the things I'm looking for, I don't want to take one that's got a flower or a bud on it. I want to take cuttings that just have leaves, and you don't need real long cuttings."

After snipping cuttings, snip off the leaves at the base, you'll need at least three layers of leaves snipped off — those nodes will eventually grow roots. Then dip the base of your cutting in rooting powder, which has special hormones in it that encourage root growth. Use a dibble (Ciscoe uses the non-business end of a wooden spoon he got at Goodwill) to poke holes in the soil, and put your cutting in. A half gallon pot can take 3 or 4 cuttings.

Put short bamboo stakes (chopsticks work well too) in the corners of your pot, then put a plastic bag over the entire thing to ensure your new cuttings don’t dry out. Water your cuttings every other day, and patiently wait for your free plants.

"Now you have got a propagator guaranteed to put roots on these hydrangeas in 4 to 6 weeks!" said Ciscoe.

 RELATED: Early fall is perfect time to plant a tree according to Ciscoe

RELATED: Ciscoe shows two ways to make free plants

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