Every time i buy/get a bouquet of flowers specially carnations, i get an irresistible desire to own a magic wand that can convert cut flowers to potted plants.. It was somewhere between this longing and desiring and daydreaming that it hit me.. i can actually grow carnations from cut flowers.. the stems are what makes up the plant and if i were to propagate a carnation i would be growing these stems only minus the flowers.. And hence was born “Project Carnations-from-stems”
i remember long long ago in my early days of gardening i had tried this and failed. learnt a few lessons and forgot all about it.. time to revive the lessons..
There are two rounds to this project.. in the first, i bought home a large bunch of differently colored carnations, looking specifically for the picotee variety.. it has to be my favorite among all.. the florist was quite amused and confused at my demand for the thickest and longest stems as opposed to the health of the flower.. obviously i did not clear it out with him because i know he would have replied “madam ye aise nahi ugte.. bahar se aate hain.. green house mein lagte hain.. blah blah.. “(translation: madam, they don’t grow like this.. they are grown in a greenhouse and imported from there”) i really could not thank him enough for this useless piece of advise so i skipped the explanation.. this also reminds me that like everything else, flowers are also reaching sky-high prices.. i started buying carnations and roses when they used to cost Rs.10/stem.. now they are close to Rs. 25… let’s not even talk about the festivals!
Anyhow, coming back to the garden, i bought the first lot, snipped off the flowers(in another jar of water) and kept the stems in plastic bottles filled with water to keep fresh till i got the pots ready.. lesson learnt here: if you want to keep the stems fresh this way, do not keep for very long and do not immerse too much of stem in water.. the part that stays in water starts becoming soft after a day and needs to be done away with. With most of the stems immersed in too much water, i did not have much left to plant.. you need to have 4-5 nodes so that 2-3 go in the soil to form roots and 2-3 stay up to sprout growth. I planted those anyhow but they don’t look very promising.
Phase 2: A much wiser me(with the pots ready) went to the same florist and picked out carnations with the same criteria. By now he is wiser too and has sensed my obsession for long-thick-stem carnations. I also haggled for the price which went up by Rs.5/ stem within a week! This city has a serious shortage of florists so the two good ones can really sell for as much as they want! Since i went at night, i had to keep them in water again but only about an inch this time so that i do not lose nodes. Of of the stems already had some growth and a small bud. I removed the bud and as i write, the growth is still not dead. *hopes* So basically the next morning i filled small clay pots with sand and compost, snipped off an inch or so from the bottom of the stems and plopped them into the pots. Remember to keep the growth above soil level but remove any that may go under the soil. Sand aids in root growth because it is light and does not restrict them. and just as i typed this i remember that i meant to use rooting hormone but as usual i didn’t. I have an unopened box of rooting hormone that i “always” mean to use but never do. I might as well give it away to someone who will use it before it expires or dies of boredom..
I’ve kept them in a shaded but well-lit area. It’s been a week now and they still look fresh and alive. *fingers crossed with hope*
UPDATE: So now after trials and errors, i have a plant growing that i rooted from cut flowers. A pictorial for the procedure is available HERE.
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