gardening articles

Container Gardening

Cuttings And Layering

How to make compost

container gardening

Container gardening…

Now a day’s container gardening is very famous in urban areas due to shortage of space and water resources. Pots can be placed easily on balconies roof tops and even they can be hanged. Different type of pots is available in are few advantages of container gardening.

  1. More gardening in less space
  2. Control over weeds and unwanted plants
  3. Efficient use of water
  4. Easy to transplant from one place to other
  5. Less use of expensive sowing material
  6. Controlled use of fertilizers
  7. Decoration of garden and landscapes
  8. Easy to tag the plant names
  9. Very suitable for hanging plants like petunia, pansies and geraniums.
  10. Available in every shape, size and material according to need


How to water container plants..


  • Before watering check the dryness of the potting soil before watering. An easy method to check moisture is to push the index finger into the ground to the second joint. If the soil feels dry, water it. If it seems wet, postpone watering. To avoid drought condition Check the condition of the soil daily. In hot weather, it is sometimes necessary to water some plants twice a day.
  • Always water deeply and wait until the water flows through the drainage holes. If you have kept a saucer or tray under your pot, consider emptying it to prevent root rot.
  • Further it is advised to Avoid watering during the hottest and sunniest hours of the day to limit water loss through evaporation. Best time to water plants is in the morning or, failing that, at the beginning of the evening.
  • Irrigate potting soil, not foliage, as moisture on the leaves promotes the development of fungal diseases. This is especially important if you are watering at night, as the foliage may remain wet all night long.
  • If your garden is in a very windy place (this is often the case on balconies and terraces), your potted plants will tend to dry up quickly. It can then be useful to install a windbreak (trellis, screen, etc.) or place the pots along with a wall..
  • To limit the use watering, you can put mulch or compost on the surface of the potting soil. Use a light mulch, such as rotten leaves, rice husk etc, and apply it in a thin layer, taking care to clear the collar of the plants. Water thoroughly before applying mulch.



  • Potted plants are bound in limited space so generally they require more fertilizer than those grown in the ground, because the necessary nutrient reserve to which they have access is limited and minerals are rapidly leached by multiple watering and precipitation
  • Container soil which is rich with compost material and a slow-release natural fertilizer is added will meet the needs of plants which need less fertilizer. Fertilizer-demanding plants will require balanced fertilization a few times during the season. According to growth stage we can change quantity and balance of NPK. In seedlings stage a weak solution of NPK 20-20-20 is enough. During growth season NPK ratio can be changed with higher percentage of nitrogen. And at stage of flowering and fruiting a fertilizer with higher ratio of potash is advised. for newcomers it is always advised to start with low potency and minimal use of fertilizer to avoid excessive fertilizer in soil which results in bigger leaves on the rate of flowers and less fruit or otherwise sometime plant burns altogether. It is better To use natural fertilizers, such as well rotten cow manure, well composed chicken manure, animals urine etc.

Choice of Container


  • The choice of pot depends on the type of crop or plant, but it is generally better to opt for a large container (6 inch in diameter and more) so that The roots of the plants will have enough space to grow well and you will have to water less often.for bulbous plants like amaryllis it is advised to plant the bulbs in pots with 1 inch bigger than bulbs but it is better to plant them in bigger pots. you can use every type of jar or container but remember  no to forget to make drain holes to avoid water logging..
  • To reduce the frequency of watering, containers with water plastic pots are a good option.
  • for good drainage it is advised to use commonly available terracotta pots which are easily available in many sizes and shapes and their drainage is best according to our climate.

The potting soil


  • If available easily Choose potting soil specially designed for container gardening or pot culture. because it will be well ventilated, while having a good capacity of water retention. always choose the soil already enriched with compost. and if not available then you can add some. Some loams also contain fertilizers. Do not use black soil or garden soil because they are too heavy and compact easily.
  • Some loams are certified organic and therefore represent an interesting choice for the cultivation of food plants.

cutting and layering

Cuttings And Layering :

Two of the most common methods of plants propagation are by Cuttings and by air layering. In this article I will discuss briefly all aspects of these methods.


Cuttings are small piece of branch or new growth which is used to prepare new plants.

Types of Cuttings.

first of all we will discuss types of cuttings, here are three main types of cuttings:

(1) Root cuttings (pieces of root are used as cuttings)

(2) Hard wood cuttings, sometimes called ripe wood cuttings

(3) Green wood, or soft wood Cuttings also called tip cuttings.

Each of these cutting types has its particular use, and plants which are propagated by one of the methods are very difficult to propagate by any other form of cutting. Here is a comprehensive detail of cuttings

Root Cuttings.

 When plants are propagated by cuttings collected from the true roots the roots are cut from the mature plants and are made of suitable length, almost three to six inches. These are kept in wet growing mix or wet sand and covered. They can be stored over winter according to the circumstances. One of the most common plants using this method of propagation is the common blackberry.

Another example is sweet potatoes; Sweet potatoes are propagated by root cuttings as they grow readily from pieces of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are considered true roots because there are no regular buds on the sweet potato or on the blackberry roots; the shoots are formed at any suitable place. There is no regularity about the arrangement of the shoots arising from these roots. So all plants which are real roots can be grw from root cuttings

Hard Wood or Ripe Wood Cuttings.

There are several types of woody cuttings:

(1) simple cuttings containing two or more buds,

(2) mallet cuttings where a piece of the main stem remains attached to the branch containing the buds,

(3) heel cuttings

Where a portion is cut from the side of the main stem where the branch used for the cutting originated,

(4) single eye cuttings containing a short piece of stem bearing one bud only.

When to make Hard Wood Cuttings.

Probably the best time for making hard wood cuttings is after the leaves have fallen from the twigs in late fall or early winter. A sharp pair of pruning shears or a sharp knife can be used. Large numbers of cuttings can be made without injury to the parent plants and little time is consumed in the process.

How to Store cuttings.

If the cuttings are made in the fall or early winter they should be stored At suitable storage place is the common cellar or vegetable pit. The cuttings are tied in bundles and properly labeled. Keep these bundles in wet sand or wet sawdust in boxes which are well drained and keep them thoroughly wet until planting time the next spring.


During the storage period the cut surfaces become calloused or healed over, and it is believed that the roots start best from near the calloused surfaces. Many hard wood cuttings will not grow unless they have passed through the callusing period. There are a number of exceptions to this, however.

Planting Hard Wood Cuttings.

There is no definite rule set regarding the best time for planting the cuttings in the open garden or nursery beds prepared for this purpose. According to weather make the soil well prepared by adding rich organic matter and leaf compost. for better results rich black loam is to be preferred growing mix as it will hold moisture well. Now after preparing rows or beds Place the cuttings along the straight side of the furrow. Insert deep taking care that one or two buds may be left outside from the ground. An inch or two of the stem is enough, and the remainder should be in the ground. press the soil  against the cuttings and firm it in place with the foot. This will bring the moisture to the cuttings.While planting cuttings The distance between the plants should be arranged according to their type and growth nature. Usually it is necessary to let enough room for a hoe between plants in the row and the rows should be far enough say three or three and one-half feet.

Care and Management.

It is necessary to give ample watering to young plants started from hard wood cuttings throughout the growing season to keep them moist.

A lot of common ornamental shrubs can easily be propagated by hard wood cuttings taken either in late fall or very early spring if time is allowed for some callusing.

Soft or Green Wood Cuttings (tip cuttings).

There are at least two types of soft or green wood cuttings:

(1) Those in which the leaf is the chief part of the cutting, as in the case of fleshy begonia leaves.

(2) Those which use a part of the green stem and one or more small leaves attached to this. The geranium is a good example of the second type.

tip cutting of geranium

tip cutting of geranium

It is very difficult to start tip cuttings outdoors in open due to weather and early release of moisture in delicate cuttings. These are first rooted in small pots or cups filled with sand or very light soil in some protected spot or in green house where close attention may be given to them.

Important points..

There are several important points to be kept in mind in rooting green wood cuttings.

  1. There is much need of exposed surface for rooting which must be made by use of the knife or scissors making a cross cut.
  2. The supply of moisture must be ample so that the cutting can obtain as much moisture as its leaf surface is releasing in air during the critical period before it develops roots.
  3. Clean,sharp sand is best for the starting of young roots, as there is less tendency to decay of the epidermis or covering of the stem.
  4. Plenty of warmth must be provided without allowing too rapid evaporation. For this purpose the box of cuttings may be kept in a sunny exposure but covered with newspaper or glass to retard evaporation. Extra heat supplied from below is helpful, and can be provided if the cuttings are being started in green houses or homes.
  5. The cutting are not able to take nourishment during the rooting period so they will be supplied with plenty of nourishment in liquid shape. for best results fleshy parts, preferably including a bud are desired for cuttings.
Uses and Examples..
tip cutting of geranium

tip cutting of geranium

Green wood cuttings are extremely useful in the propagation of many of our potted plants. Geraniums and begonias have already been mentioned. Chrysanthemums and carnations are commonly propagated through this method in the early spring for the fall and winter blossoms. Many of our foliage plants grown in borders and ornamental beds are propagated in-doors during late winter and early spring months. Many roses are propagated almost entirely by cuttings of the immature wood. Numerous other examples are common.

Management after Rooting.

For best results the cuttings are watched closely during the rooting period, and as soon as they establish plenty of roots they are lifted out with a small portion of the sand or soil adhering to them. They are then potted or transplanted to beds or pots. Good garden soil containing plenty of black loam and compost is best for them at this time. They are then kept well watered and given other good conditions to force the growth somewhat rapidly.

tip cutting of geranium

tip cutting of geranium planted in peat moss


When plants are propagated by layering they are certain to produce the same kind as the parent plant, as they are really a part of it. They are also much better chances to grow than in the case of cuttings because they remain attached to the parent plant and may obtain food and nourishment from it until new roots are formed at the point of layering.

There are several kinds of layering:

(1) Vine layering,

(2) Mound(stool) layering,

(3) Tip layering,

(4) Pot layering.


Vine Layering.

A lot of vines are easily propagated by layering. Among these are the different varieties of grapes, clematis, and Virginia creeper, Bougainvillea, Petrea volubilis etc.

There are two types of vine layering,

serpentine layering

serpentine layering

One called the serpentine form, in which the vine touches the ground at several points, but is bent into the air between these points.

The second type is simple vine layering. The vine is Somewhat covered with earth throughout its whole length and may send up buds at the nodes and send down roots at any point along the stem. In the serpentine layering roots are formed at the points where the vine is covered with soil, and the stem in the air serves as a shoot without the formation of a new shoot. In either of the types the parent vine is cut in parts between the points of rooting, and each part will form a separate plant. Vine layering is an easy method of propagating certain varieties of grapes or vines which do not grow well from cuttings.

Rooting and Transplanting.

The vines used for layering should be vigorous and well supplied with nourishment. Air layering is best started during the peak of the growing season, which is after the spring growth is well started and atmosphere is much moist due to rains. At least there must be enough time left during the summer for the plants to root well before autumn. The new plants may be taken up either during that autumn or early the following spring. They are transplanted to their new locations and given the same care that is required for good growth of shrubs and trees.

Mound (stool) Layering.

This method obtains its name from the fact that the soil is mounded up among the lower stems or branches. Mound (stool) layering isvery useful with heavy-stemmed, closely branched shrubs and root stocks of tree fruits.

The method is resorted to because of the fact that root division is too slow, or may not be possible because of there being only one stem arising from the ground.

When the soil is mounded up among the lower branches for a season, roots will be sent from the lower branches into this soil.

At the end of the growing season the whole plant may be taken up and divided by cutting these newly rooted branches away from the others. These may be planted as separate individual plants.

The lilac, gooseberry, quince, althea and others may be easily propagated by this method. Indeed, the method is a very sure one, as it does not in any way endanger the life of the parent.

Difference between mound layering and Root Division.

There is little difference between mound layering and root division, in mound layering the gardener finds it necessary to mound up the soil among the lower branches to induce more roots to be formed on the stems already having buds or branches.

Tip Layering.

When the tips of certain woody plants are bent over and covered with soil they may form roots and new shoots.

Then when the parent branch is cut off a new plant is left growing at the point where the rooting took place. Black raspberries are most commonly propagated by this method.

Good quantity of soil may be placed on them to hold them down. In light sandy loam it is sometimes necessary to hold them with pegs thrust deep into the soil. In a few weeks these may start forming roots. The tips of the twigs which were not covered will form fresh leaves or new shoots. When new growth is established, cut off the parent canes connected with the old plants. This may be done with a spade or pruning shears.

The new row of young plants may be left in place until late autumn or early spring. They are then taken up and planted in the new location

There are a number of plants which naturally propagate themselves by tip layering. Many of our ornamental shrubs can be propagated by this method. Plants which are not commonly propagated by layering may be induced to do so if the twig is wounded at the point where it is covered with soil, and if the weather conditions are favorable it will easily form new plants in this way. The Strawberry has a special plan of propagation. Its runners take root at the nodes.

Pot Layering.

In some indoor plants, such as the rubber plant in greenhouses, propagation is done by means of pot layering. A flower pot is split open and the two halves are tied around an upright branch and the pot is filled with sand or soil, or wet peat moss.If the branch is wounded at the place, a cluster of roots will be formed in the pot. After this the branch may be cut off below the pot and we have a separate plant already rooted. The young plant is then re potted in good soil in a larger pot for further growth.

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