Many years ago, a friend shared a tip for getting our coleus cuttings started. We simply put them in wet soil and stood a bread sack over the pot. I usually put a couple small sticks (old drinking straws work great) to support the bread sack/tent (my first Big Top).
Big Top Posies
This year, I had a red coleus, plus some red and white wax begonias that I wanted to keep over the 15/16 Winter and expand for the swinging flower boxes in 2016’s summer. A container of clippings from the fall of 2015 survived with a mass of roots all winter. The coleus did better than the begonias, but all in all, I thought the project was a success.
The ‘parent’ plants were looking a little straggly when I began to crave dirt under my nails in March. I clipped them all back and applied the tenting process except I used plastic produce bags for the Big Tops. They are much ‘softer’ in texture and have a nice soft translucence. Some of the plants were in dirt and others were in containers of water. I had high success with all of them. The flower boxes were filled without any plant shock. I can watch the growth progress daily.
Big Top Veggies
Now, I’m caught up in perpetual Big Top projects. There will be a TRUE Big Top for the baby tomato plants to get a booster start in their small pots. I don’t want to risk putting them in the garden for a couple weeks. They will benefit from having a separate pot for that time and a couple days under the Big Top will help.
Big Top Rescue
When I was putting the cucumber plants into 6 inch pots, awaiting garden time, one of them broke off! With nothing to lose, I put the broken top into a jar of water under a TENT. The new little roots are growing fast and we will have a covered cuke for the summer garden.
Big Top Herbs
A long term tent project involves my ‘mad scientist’ adventure for the summer — propagating Rosemary plants! I have Rosemary and Lemon Thyme clippings under tents in both soil and water and am enjoying their fresh confidence and lack of plant shock as they spend their days in a south window under produce bag ‘tents’. The Lemon Thyme is faster to get the message about growing-up in a protected environment.
The tents could be classified as disposable terrariums. The thing I like best about them is the ability to be flexible about where the plant has to get its sheltered beginning. I can put it into a long term pot, a short term home or a quick and dirty jar of water and give it economical and effective shelter while it gets a good start. My new babies are in a south window of the walk-out basement. Sometimes I get busy writing blogs and don’t get down there every day. Checking on them to find crisp plants with moist soil and ‘dew’ on the tent walls has been a pleasant experience throughout this spring season.
I hope you find this experience helpful and encouraging for your planting projects. I have been pleased to be able to produce repeats of some special plants for my flower boxes, to get new seedlings strong for my garden, to rescue the broken and indulge in mad scientist herbal propagation!