IMMA’s magnificent gardens are open again for you and your family to explore and enjoy. This project is inspired by the array of flowers and shrubs that you can find there. Summer time is here and it’s a perfect time to watch plants grow. We’re focusing on roses and mint which should be available in many local supermarkets.
Junior gardeners can watch these small cuttings of roses and mint grow and by next summer you will have a full-grown plant and flowers! As with all family projects, we encourage grown-ups to join in the creative activity but this project will require additional support by an adult.
What you will need:
- Cinnamon powder
Roses – steps:
- Most bouquets of roses you find in supermarkets are perfect, simply make sure that they still have a few leaves. If you do not already have these at home, you will also need cinnamon powder, honey, and compost. Some supermarkets will have all four.
- To prepare each rose stem, first cut off the flower above the first node. An alive node is a little point between the leaf and the stem, if alive it will be red or light green in colour. In case the second node is black, cut above the first healthy one.
- Cut 6 inches (15 cm) down below a healthy alive node, this is where the root ball will form. then only leave the top whole three leaves and remove the rest and cut in half each independent leaf, this will reduce moisture loss but still allow the cutting to conduct photosynthesis.
- Now that you have your cuttings ready put them aside in water, so you can prepare the container. Deep plastic supermarket containers work best, (e.g. tomato containers), as they usually already have drainage holes at the bottom. Simply put in the compost, soak it, and cover with cling film. Pierce a few holes in the cling film, 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart and put aside.
- To make your homemade rooting mix, get a bowl and mix one heaped teaspoon of cinnamon powder and three teaspoons of honey. Both honey and cinnamon are naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and will reduce chances of rotting. Honey has enzymes that promote root growth.
- For the last step, dip each cutting in the rooting mix, making sure to completely cover three quarters of the bottom. Then simply put the cuttings through the pre-made holes, into the compost and place in a bright area away from direct sunlight. Do not worry if the leaves which are left start turning yellow and dry out, it’s normal.
- If successful, the small nodes will start turning into leaves which is a sign that the cutting is establishing itself. In around 2 months. a root ball and a root system should have formed, and you can transfer the cutting into a garden, outdoor box, or indoors in a larger pot, in bright light.
Mint – steps:
- When getting mint you wish to propagate, make sure to buy the type that comes as a whole stem.
- As these stems have probably been in a sealed bag for days, it is important to prepare your cuttings once you get home to increase your chances of success. Cut each stem around 5 inches (13 cm) below a node and remove the entire bottom leaves, leaving around two to three at the top and cut each individual leaf in half to reduce moisture loss.
- Once your cuttings are ready, simply put them in a glass of water in a warm bright place. It will take around two to three weeks for the roots to start forming, so until then change the water twice a week. By keeping the water clean you are reducing the chances of infection and rot.
- After a proper root system has formed, you can transfer the cuttings outside into your garden or in a pot of organic compost (if possible), but make sure you keep the soil moist for at least two weeks, this will give the roots a chance to adjust to their new medium. Mint grows fast and you will soon have a plant big enough to be able to add a few leaves to delicious recipes.
Finally please share your results, your experiments, and artworks with the hashtag #ExploreratHome