Saving stock plant will yield masses

Chlorophytum is the so-called spider plant whose cream and green lance-like leaves make an attractive potted spectacle indoors, and it can be used in summer bedding and containers.

Sunday, 13th November 2016, 11:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:51 pm
A spider plant makes an attractive indoor spectacle.

It will not tolerate frost, but one parent plant saved over winter will give rise to masses once new growth gets under way. They send out runners, with embryo plants on the end, and root themselves on contact with moist soil. One of our greenhouse borders is full of them at present, but about to be cleared, creating extra storage space. One will survive winter in the conservatory.

Plectranthus coleoides is another softie used for indoor decoration or summer containers outside. Apart from the variegated foliage and trailing habit, it has scented leaves and is easily rooted.

Put a few stems in water, stand them on the warmth of a windowsill and roots will appear within two weeks. Start taking stem cuttings from a single stock plant in May when new growth begins, then continue pinching out the tips of young plants and root those.

We currently have 10 plants standing in two-litre pots. They have served their summer purpose, and all that need be kept is one. Some decisions are easy.

Begonia rex and Streptocarpus are different in that they comprise several cultivars. I keep one each of the parent plants in the conservatory, reduce the number of leaves, and only water when flagging occurs. Rooted leaf cuttings of both are huddled together nearby.

Geraniums and pelargoniums are still flowering and serving a useful display function indoors. Once the blooms fade these plants will be pruned and water withheld for weeks on end. The moist atmosphere is often enough to sustain dormant potted plants.