October 16, 2015

Rooting Sweet Potato vines and other plants in water

I bought ornamental sweet potato plants last spring to resell in the nursery. I knew that each plant would produce a "potato" that can be saved and planted next year. The one on the left was in one of the window boxes and was small but it will make a new plant next year when I plant it,. You can keep yours in a cool dry place and plant in spring.  I needed lots of plants to resell. The few plants I kept for myself will not be enough. They were rather expensive so I wondered if I could root the mature vines now that it is nearly time for our first frost. I certainly don't want to winter over all the vines I saved for stock plants.

I always have some sort of plant rooting in my East facing kitchen window. Right now in addition to the sweet potatoes, I have mint, coleus and African Violet babies (these are in soil now but started as water rooted leaves). I collect pretty glass pill bottles, etc for rooting baby plants.

It was only a week ago that I took cuttings of some of the sweet potato vines I had growing in window boxes outside. I took cuttings of a lime green and a deep purple. Both have rooted already! I'm going to root a lot of these as small cuttings and winter them over in the greenhouse for spring sales.

Rooted in one week!
If I weren't going to sell them, I'd probably make my cuttings about 8 or 9 inches long, cut off all existing leaves. The vine will produce more leaves and they will be much healthier than the old ones. I'd put them in a pretty vase and keep them over winter in the window. I'd keep them pruned so they will fill out and not get leggy.

Coleus, mint, pineapple sage and lots of other plants will root in water. Try a few cutting - what have you got to lose but a few leaves and you may get lots of "Free" plants!

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