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Purple Heart Propagation

Purple Heart Propagation

Here's my overgrown Tradescantia pallida ("Purple Heart").  Eventually, all plants will require some intervention to restore a pleasing shape.  Sometimes, it can be pruned early to maintain a compact shape (I obviously missed that boat).  In other cases, you will want to restart the plant.  For this plant, I'll cut back most of the foliage and salvage the healthiest tips as cuttings.  Propagating cuttings by rooting them in water has another benefit: they can be displayed in a stylish manner, giving you an added layer of botanical beauty and visual interest.

Here's my overgrown Tradescantia pallida ("Purple Heart").  Eventually, all plants will require some intervention to restore a pleasing shape.  Sometimes, it can be pruned early to maintain a compact shape (I obviously missed that boat).  In other cases, you will want to restart the plant.  For this plant, I'll cut back most of the foliage and salvage the healthiest tips as cuttings.  Propagating cuttings by rooting them in water has another benefit: they can be displayed in a stylish manner, giving you an added layer of botanical beauty and visual interest.

See how there is branching near the base of the stems.  It indicates that the overall plant is still in good health.

See how there is branching near the base of the stems.  It indicates that the overall plant is still in good health.

After cutting back all the stems, I'll look for healthy tips that can be rooted to make cuttings.

After cutting back all the stems, I'll look for healthy tips that can be rooted to make cuttings.

This is a cutting ready to be propagated: lower leaves have been removed so as to not burden the cutting with having to support lots of leaves without a root system. The length of the stem is cut so that at least one of the nodes (the bumps along the stem) will remain submerged in the water.

This is a cutting ready to be propagated: lower leaves have been removed so as to not burden the cutting with having to support lots of leaves without a root system. The length of the stem is cut so that at least one of the nodes (the bumps along the stem) will remain submerged in the water.

Two cuttings in their propagation vessel.  Glass jars work as well but I've been given something far cooler...

Two cuttings in their propagation vessel.  Glass jars work as well but I've been given something far cooler...

...The Cradle by Hilton Carter.  Now I'll be propagating in style!

...The Cradle by Hilton Carter.  Now I'll be propagating in style!

If you've read any good guides on house plant care, they probably say that there's no need to root in water and that roots that emerge in water are not the same as roots that rooted in soil.  This is all very true, but my position is that rooting in water gives you another opportunity to display plants in a delightful way (whether in glass jars or a super cool propagation holder like The Cradle).

And only 3 days later, the cuttings have some roots.  You can transplant at this point but I'm going to leave it so I can appreciate them in The Cradle for a little longer.  Not all cuttings will root this quickly - some will take weeks or months.

And only 3 days later, the cuttings have some roots.  You can transplant at this point but I'm going to leave it so I can appreciate them in The Cradle for a little longer.  Not all cuttings will root this quickly - some will take weeks or months.

SPECIAL: I've arranged with Hilton Carter to give my readers 10% off The Cradle using the coupon code "HPJ10".  Go forth and propagate in style!

Understand where your plants came from

Understand where your plants came from