Native plant propagation for beginners?

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by Chris M, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. Chris M

    Chris M Member

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    Hello! I would like to give plant propagation a try. Which NW native plants are the easiest? I'd like to have some early successes to build up my confidence. (In my garden I have sword fern, red-flowering currant, black gooseberry. The woods near my house have lots of vine maple, salal, and red huckleberry too.)

    Thank You.
     
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Chris--I happened to be talking with the propagator at one of the native plant nurseries a while back, who mentioned that few NW natives are worth propagating vegetatively. I was kinda surprised, but I can see his point after playing with propagation for years now. Anything that can be done from seed is usually way easier/cheaper that way. The one plant we were discussing was an exception (paxistima) and it truly does root easily throughout the summer, esp. with mist.

    Lots of the ericacious stuff like salal and huckleberries were germinated on pure sphagnum moss...sown on the surface and covered with poly or a dome to keep moist, indirect light.

    Ferns are actually very easy, tho slow to get going. Sprinkle the spores on moistened promix/sunshine mix and stick the container in a plastic bag. Keep in shade until the spores have made their little green discs (can be months) then a fine spray of water "fertilizes" these and the actual ferns start growing.

    Since these plants are native to our area, it makes sense that they will tend to be quite easy, so you should have encouraging results. Trying to think of natives that will be discouraging...suppose trillium is a long, hard road...any native orchids I probably wouldn't tackle either! Remember that a lot of seeds won't do much until they've experienced the cold of winter, just be patient and lots will pop up next spring, just like they do in our woods.
     
  3. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    On the other hand, vegetative propagation is fun and rewarding for home use. Ferns can be divided in spring, while the ribes and gooseberry might root from cuttings - I haven't tried those. Salal and Vine maple, I'm not so sure you need to propagate these - don't they just sucker? If so you can just dig up a sucker with some root attached. Confidence isn't so much what's needed to succeed, however; I'd rather put my faith in information. If you look up specific plants on the internet (google something like "salal propagation") or (my preference) in books, you should be able to find the best methods for propagation of each one.
     
  4. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    ChrisM: You have the happy circumstance of living in the one place in the world where plant propagation is a 'no brainer'! About a thousand years ago when I lived in Factoria(now Bellevue) at the end of the bridge, there was a woods of about 5 acres over my back fence. Dahlias, crotons, Oregon Grape, you name it, trim them and pitch them in the woods over the back fence. In a month or so, take the trowel and release the roots of whatever you wanted to plant or pot up. They grew prolificly without the benefit of any hassle factor. The forest duff, the frequent light rain, and the shade did all the work. In the boiling sun on the Island where I now live in Florida, there is a REAL hassle factor. FYI- - jump on the internet and find a copy of L.H.Bailey "The Nursery Manual". Shouldn't cost much. It was first printed in 1896 and is my prime reference for propagating info. What was true then, still is!
     
  5. Chris M

    Chris M Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm going to try red-flowering currant and black gooseberry. I might try sword fern but I think it's too late this year to gather spores.
     

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