Hamelia Patens - Firebush

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

Has anyone propagated this and how was it done. I would like to make enough extras for a hedge along one fenceline.
Jan...

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

I'll give it a shot. Remember, I am not a professional gardener. I do it by the seat of my shorts. My terminology may not be correct. First, cuttings are much better than seeds. They will give you a stronger plant that will more closely resemble the mother plant and will do it much faster. It will take your plants less time to become mature plants.
To successfully make cuttings I use terrariums.
To make terrariums I use 2 liter clear soda bottles & 4" plastic pots. Here's how.
First, cut off the soda bottle lable. Then cut around the neck of the bottle just before or above where the curve ends. Using good sisors is best for this. If you cut too close to the straight part of the bottle, it won't fit into the 4" pot. About 1/4 to 3/8 inch above the straight part is just about right.
Cut a piece of firebush about 6 to 8 inches long, just below the last leaves of the cutting you make. Pull off the last leaves above the cutting bottom. I use a planting hormone, but many recommend not using one. I dip my cutting into the planting hormone (rootone), shake off the excess then plant in a hole I have made with a nail or pencil, Then I push the dirt into the cutting. Doing this prevents the dirt from wiping off the rooting hormone. Then I place the cut bottle up side down into the 4" pot and it's done.
A couple of different techniques I use, if it's a green stalk cutting, I use a potting soil medium by itself and put a pot liner under the 4" pot. I keep the liner filled with water so the planting medium remains moist.
If making a cutting with a hardened wood, or brown stalk I mix potting mix with bought dirt and sand to make a more dirt like mixture. I don't use a pot liner with this method because if a brown stalk cutting is exposed to too much moisture, it will rot before it takes.
Keep the terrarium in light, but not direct sun. The plastic bottle should fill with moisture if it's done right. This will keep the leaves alive until the cutting takes root.
One more tip, if any leaves are touching the inside of the plastic bottle, they will quickly rot, so just cut off with sisors any leave tips that might touch the plastic.
There is a picture attached to show what they should look like.
If you have any questions, just ask.
Art

Thumbnail by artcons
Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Jan,

We were over at Arts yesterday. We shared some 4" pots with him and until we got there I didn't know the purpose of the pots. I had also take some square pots. Haha, they don't work.

I would like to try this, but I don't drink soda, so rarely get my hands on a 2 liter bottle. It's such a great idea and he is very successful with this method.

I know, I know, Wednesday is recycle day. All I have to do is drive down the street and raid the recycle bins curbside!!!

I've got some butterfly bush cuttings I am trying to root now. This is great!!!!

Thanks Art.

Molly
:^))))

Lantana, FL(Zone 10a)

Molly, I agree that this looks like a great method! Thanks, Art, for sharing it with us!

I'm just headed out to do some pruning and have wanted to try rooting some cuttings from my favorites for the Roundup in a few months. ;-D

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Hey, you are more than welcome.
This came about one day while exploring the woods across the street from the trailer park in W. Palm Beach. It was Jog road to be exact. I found lots of plants growing from discards people dumped there, but had no way to get them home before they dried out. Back then the two liter soda bottles came with a plastic cup on the bottom. I ripped off the bottom, filled it with dirt then cut off the top of the bottle to keep the plants fresh. Later on I did some experimenting and found they are a perfect fit. A lady visiting my garden saw the terrariums I had made and asked if she could submit the idea to the Girl Scouts. I gladly said yeah, and they published it. That was about 27 or 28 years ago. I am still using the technique today. The problem with doing this, is it works so well, you will quickly run out of friends with 4" pots available.
Thanks for your donations of 4" pots ladies!
Art

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks everyone. I have a teenager so 2 liter bottles are no problem. I have about 500 round 4 in pots I use for seeds so no problem there.
Jan...

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

That sounds like a great method Art. I will have to give it a try. I have had great success rooting cuttings of various butterfly plants but I was only able to get one of my cuttings of Firebush to take. What percentage of your plants come through with roots using this method?? Thanks a million.

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

My success rate using the terrariums is usually about 4 successes out of 5 tries. Of course it depends on the plants. What I call a water stalk, something like a coleus will be 10 out of 10. Others like bougainvillea are closer to 2 or 3 out of 5. My best butterfly attractor in the yard, Schefflera 'Nova' is 100%.
The results may also be skewered due to my technique. It's somthing I have always done so I don't know if I am doing the right thing or not.
Another factor is the time of the year. I have better luck in the fall from late Sept. through early June.
The past six weeks with lots of rain and overcast days have been a blessing. Very few failures during this period. If only I had known that was going to happen, I would have been getting cuttings of everything.
Art

Gresham, OR(Zone 8a)

Art - thanks so much for sharing! I have a question: Do you have to put a small hole into the bottle for air? I have used the two liter bottles in the garden with rose cuttings and fushia starts. I just take a cutting, dip it in rooting hormone, and stick the cutting in the ground next to it's mom. I cover it with a 2 litre bottle with the BOTTOM cut off, leaving the spout on the top, but without the lid. Kind of like a bell jar...it has worked well for me. Your technique makes me wonder if I really need the "air hole" that the spout serves as...? I have also used these so-called bell jars to just put over the top of the small 2" pots with starts in them. It allowed me to leave my starts outside when it was cooler than they would like...

Thanks again, Art for the great idea!

Tracy

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Hi Tracy, I don't put a hole in the top. I want to keep the humidity in. If you try this, you will see how much moisture forms inside the bottle. I think with a hole it wouldn't be as effective.
Art

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Tracy,

If I may interject here. Art got me started on the Coke bottle terreriums and I did not put any holes in them. If you do that, it defeats the purpose of the terrarium effect, the moisture won't be able to condense on the sides of the bottle if there is an air hole in there.

I believe the cuttings will get all the air they need through the soil and the holes in the bottoms of the pots.

It is great, isn't it. I have what looks to be 100% success on the bottles and pots that Art gave me, with the training lessons. I have B'fly bush and stevia. Previously my success rate was baaaad, less than 10%.
And no air holes.

Molly
:^)))

Thanks Art, it's working wonders for me.

Gresham, OR(Zone 8a)

Consider me another convert! Thanks!

Tracy

Kernersville, NC(Zone 7a)

Hey you guys, I followed this link from the Hibiscus forum (thanks Molly). Here is a dumb newbie question- how long does this take and how do you check for roots? I wanted to try it on Hibiscus, I figure it depends on the plant, but I am assuming I wouldn't check it every five minutes as I would be inclined to do? Thanks, I am definately giving this a try:) Rachel

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Hi Rachel, I have done this with Hibiscus with mixed results. They like Bougainvillea take time. My success rate on Hibiscus and Bougainvillea is about two or three successes for five tries.

To help you along, try if you can, to get cuttings near where the branch goes from green to brown. Cut the branch just below the the first leaves on the brown part. Pull off these leaves rather than cutting them off. Remove any buds or flowers. Hibiscus and Bougainvillea need to have a scrape of the surface of the branch and pulling off the last two leaves is the same as making this scrape. If you use rooting hormone, be sure it covers the branch so it shows when the cutting is in the pot. The cuttings should go into the pot 2 or 3 inches. If using rooting hormone, be sure to shake off the excess powder from the cutting. You don't want it clumpy on the cutting. Just a dusting is fine.

When putting the cutting under the terrarium top, be sure the leaves don't touch the plastic. If they do, trim the outside edges of the leaves until the cutting's leaves don't touch the plastic. You do this to prevent the leaves from getting wet and possibly rotting. If they rot they can't provide the light required to finish the job since they will be under plastic for a while.

You can tell they are rooting when new leaves begin to grow. As this happens, you can remove the top and leave the plant in shade for a day. At the end of the day if the leaves have not wilted, try it without plastic overnight. Check in the morning. If the leaves wilt, put the plastic back on... repeat as necessary until the plant can stay without plastic and will not wilt when left in out in the air.

My latest experiment involves using grafting wax to cover the bottom of the cutting on "hard wood" cuttings. I am doing this with small Jacaranda tree shoots about 2" long. There are lots of them growing from my young Jacaranda tree. I am pulling them off, then covering the "wood" open bottom with grafting wax. Then I dipped them in rooting hormone and put them under terrariums. Last year before I had my own Janaranda tree, I used to get these cuttings from a tree in the median a few blocks from my house. I just used rooting hormone on them and they didn't survive. They did last a month or more in several tries. Just yesterday when cleaning up my nursery area I came across the grafting wax. I decided this would be worthwhile trying since I had so many shoots on my tree I have lots of things I can try.

The picture shows a Jacaranda tree shoot I made yesterday. I'll keep you informed of my progress via this thread. I know it can't be done, but I am doing it anyway.

Good luck (doesn't hurt) on your Hibiscus.

Art

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

I forgot to attach the picture of the Jacaranda tree.

Here it is.

Art

Thumbnail by artcons
Wildwood, FL(Zone 9a)

I started with one Firebush. It became to large for the area I had it in so I dug it up and moved it. In all the places where there were roots left in the original spot new starts came up. So I dug those up to and moved close to the original for a large Firebush show. It is a great fall shrub and I love the butterflies it attracts.

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

I'm using it as a partial hedge down one side of my front yard and it is gorgeous.
Jan...

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Artcons gave me a good sized rooted cutting of Firebush the other day. My plan was to plant it between my 2 Jatrophas growing in the front yard.

So I put it in yesterday. I had some stonecrop over growing the sedum and succulent bed so filled in the spaces with that and with some small porterweed plants that Jnana shared with me.

Here's what it looks like now. In a little while I will be putting some mulch down around the plants to help them out. In this horrible heat of August, they need all the help I can give them.

Molly
:^)))

Thumbnail by MollyMc
Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

I love those "Jatrophas" in the picture! When I went to the plantfiles there were a bazillion different kinds. What kind are yours, and do they have a common name? What a pretty little bed! Now I'm going to look up "firebush".
Pati

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Pati,

You won't find this one listed under Jatrophas. Something is wrong with the system and won't pick it up under that name in the search.

Jatropha Multifida

http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/55308/index.html

Need some seeds?

Molly
:^)))

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

I would LOVE to have some seeds!! I suppose I'm foolish to plant trees at my age. LOL Would they grow in a pot?
Pati

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Yes Pati, they will grow in a pot. I'll get some off to you tomorrow or Tuesday.

Those trees in my photo above are almost 2 years old and are about 5 feet tall. They have been transplanted from pot to ground, dug up once, put in pots for 3 mile transport, then put back in the ground here last fall.

They are very interesting to watch germinating. One day you will see a little curl popping up out of the soil, the next day it will be 4 inches tall. I imagine if you could stay up all night watching it, you might actually see it moving in its first spurt of growth. :^)))

Molly
:^)))

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

Thanks so much Molly. This should be fun because I have never actually grown anything from seed before. The most excitement I've had in a long time is watching your Cannas put up new shoots!

I had such good luck with my little shade garden, now I want to start a sun garden down the fence line. My Plumies are growing out of their pots, and I'm sure the Cannas will be soon. I'm really looking forward to a break in the temps so I can go out and do some real gardening. We don't get as much rain here as other places in FL, so the most I get done is watering every morning, and sometimes in the evenings also.
Pati

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

Hmmmm Molly,
Do you plan on moving the Firebush?. Even the dwarf variety will overgrow that spot. My Standard is about 6ft tall and 4-5 ft across. The porterweed is also a good size bush.
Jan...

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Yes, Jan, I believe I will be moving the firebush up to Levy County in about a year. I have 5 acres up there. I think that might be big enough.

:^)))

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

Where about in Levy County?

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Between Archer and the Bronson Motor Speedway, off HWY 24.

I hope to build a house up there and settle down.

Molly
:^)))

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

I know it well. My son's father lived in Bronson. I was through there a few months ago visiting people in Ft. White. I can't believe how the place has changed over 17 yrs. Could barely find the place I rented in Alachua. Went from cow pastures to big estates.
Jan...

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Jan,

It's on its way to changing drastically now. People who want to come to Florida won't be coming down here unless they are very wealthy, so they will go to mid state now. Property values out in Levy county have a least doubled in the past 10 months. I expect things to continue to rise over the next few years.

Molly
:^)))

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

Yep, wish I had bought some back then. You could find plenty for under $1000/acre.
Jan...

Rockford, IL(Zone 5a)

I have uses the pop plastic bottles, but I cut the bottom and keep the top on the bottle.
Instead of taking the bottle off, I just unscrew the top of the bottle and let it vent for awhile. Screw the cap back on and let it continue to build the humidity again. That way you don't have to worry about baking your plants inside the bottles.

Just a thought....

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Creadman, down here in Zone 10 they have to be kept in the shade. In the sun even with the top unscrewd as you do it, they would bake anyway.
Here, keeping them constant is a plus so shade is manditory. They just need light to form humidity inside, not sun. Sun is way too extreme.

Art

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