Almost two months ago, we trimmed up our butterfly bush as part of our spring prep routine. We were advised to cut it to about knee height at the beginning of spring, so Chouchou and Mon Cœur did that as Mon Amour and I supervised.
I saved a few of the cuttings – we would like more butterfly bushes for the butterflies, and I didn’t see any sense in buying a new one if we could propagate more for free.
Chouchou and I have been conducting an experiment to see: (one) if we can propagate butterfly bush, and (two) to see whose method is most efficient. I was pretty confident that these would propagate easily, as the words “invasive species” were popular words across many websites describing butterfly bush.
We discovered (one) yes, we have been bale to propagate butterfly bush, and (two) they both work, however, Chouchou’s seem to have quicker growing, healthy new growth.
The two methods: simple versus not so simple:
I was also super confident in my simple, no hassle method of dipping a (large, 8-10 inch) cutting in some rootstock, then sticking it into a pot of soil. Chouchou went to the trouble of trimming the cutting to only 2-3 inches high, dipping the ends in rootstock and then starting them in rock wool.
I left mine outside, except when the temps dipped below freezing, when I would bring them inside. Chouchou kept his babies inside under a grow light on a tray, sitting on a heating mat, and briefly under a cover. After a few days, we noticed the cover was not helping to grow the cuttings, and it was creating an environment for mold, so he took it off.
There is no denying the superior roots that were achieved through the whole approach Chouchou used. Although tedious, the results were magnificent. We were all amazed at the roots that grew through the bottom of the rock wool. It was also the first time we had used it.
We potted his propagated trimmings about a month ago, and just yesterday I noticed how much they have grown. Notably, the height of his trimmings seemed to jump from 3 inches to 8 inches overnight. The new leaf growth is long and healthy.
If I would change one thing for next time:
I would try smaller clippings for me, instead of the larger ones. Chouchou’s clippings were much smaller than mine originally when we began the experiment. However, looking at them side by side, now, there isn’t much difference in height between the two methods.
We still wonder:
Chouchou and I still wonder how long it will take until they are ready. We will probably wait at least until fall so that they have a chance to establish roots within the pots, then we will gift them or plant them.
For previous garden updates, check out the links below:
- You can read about our maintenance projects in the garden here;
- Three early spring addition to Millie’s garden here;
- Early spring updates here;
- Summer updates here;
- Spring and summer additions here;
- Our nursery haul here;
- December additions here;
- Fall additions here;
- The end of week one progress here;
- Check out the grotto in progress here;
- Read about the chopping of our cherry tree here;
- and see what we started with in our before pictures here.
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