Cutting the mustard

Create a cheerful pot-et-fleur and take cuttings to protect outdoor plants this September, suggests June Cynthia

by June Cynthia

Create a cheerful indoor pot-et-fleur and take cuttings to protect outdoor plants this autumn, suggests June Cynthia

I don't want to be the harbinger of doom, but autumn this year will be a case of taking cuttings from your most precious plants as a precaution against loss. With the heat, which we have to assume is by no means over yet, and then possible flash floods and thunderstorms, we could just be about to see the demise of many of our favourite plants. 

As we all know, summer 2022 has been one of the harshest summers on record, so perhaps we should use the old fashioned belts and braces method of taking cuttings as a general rule each year, to ensure we don't lose any of our precious plants. Many of which might have sentimental memories of long lost relatives and friends.

If you, like many people this summer, have almost given up on expecting the recovery of your usual colourful flower beds, then why not start an indoor pot-et-fleur by choosing some attractive house plants of differing hues, line, shape, contrast and form. These designs will help you to continue to enjoy your gardening, albeit on a smaller scale, but without the obvious risks right through the autumn and into spring.

You will need a large saucer/tray, making sure it is deep enough to contain a covering of gravel. Or, If you wish, some decorative glass pebbles/beads plus a good supply of water.  

You can have fun making one of these designs by choosing old favourites like the spider plant, otherwise known as Chlorophytum comosum, Coleus (blumei) and ferns tall and trailing. Just beautiful! The colour spectrum of these beautiful plants, which any artist would be delighted to paint, is astounding. Just use your imagination. By placing your pot plants together in an attractive huddle on top of the gravel, you are in effect creating a perfect microclimate for them to flourish. 

Keep the saucer topped up with water and keep your plants in their original pots. Feed sparingly and individually by checking directions if needed with an appropriate nutrient. Check also for pest control. 

One consideration though is that all of your chosen plants should either like their own microclimate conditions. By that, I mean they must like humidity.

Or, If your choice is for succulents or cacti then these plants should be kept in dry conditions and in a completely different saucer. There are many attractive dry climate loving plants available which won't require quite so much maintenance as above. But, plant food and pest control though is also essential. Water sparingly.

I hope this leaves you with plenty of time to start to prepare your flower beds, ready for the seasonal sleep, in the hope that next year won't be quite so challenging. If it is, then rest in the knowledge that you've got plenty of cuttings growing away nicely to replace or to double up on your precious plants.

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