Children's Corner: Starting Plants From Cuttings

A young girl describes how she established a garden by starting plants from cuttings, and how you can too.

| May/June 1985

  • starting plants from cuttings - five pots
    Amy Johnson created a garden of over 150 plants —for free! — by starting plants from cuttings and and transplanting wild seedlings.
    PHOTO: MILTON JOHNSON
  • starting plants from cuttings - smoothing soil in pot
    Amy even transplanted small trees (like this young maple) she found growing in her yard!
    MILTON JOHNSON

  • starting plants from cuttings - five pots
  • starting plants from cuttings - smoothing soil in pot

MOTHER EARTH NEWS feels strongly that youths can be creative "doers," working toward more ecological and self-reliant lifestyles whether their tasks be raising chickens on a farm or maintaining rooftop container gardens in the city. To support the endeavors of our often overlooked "underage" citizens, we're glad to publish well-written articles from younger children and teenagers concerning projects they've undertaken.


My name is Amy Johnson. I'm 11 years old now. Two years ago, my family bought a lawn and garden center in Kentucky. Being around so many trees, houseplants, flowers, and shrubs, I soon learned to like them a lot. I also learned about growing plants from seed and starting plants from cuttings (stems that have been cut off a plant).

Then it dawned on me I could have a garden of my own from cuttings I rooted myself! I decided to raise my plants in pots, since we didn't have any spare room in the garden for me to use. I started with some mum stems that my parents had trimmed off. I rooted those and soon I had some mums of my own. Then I started some other cuttings, too.

A few days later, I happened to find a few baby plants in the store that had sprouted accidentally. My sister Becky and I decided we could dig these up and pot them, too. So we went plant hunting around the store.



By the end of the day, we had found about 25 baby plants. Becky helped me put them in polystyrene cups and poke drainage holes in the bottoms. We kept looking, and by the end of the week we had found and potted 70 plants.

After a while, we decided we'd found most of the baby plants in the store. Then Becky suggested we look for more around home. Why, yes! That was a good idea. We found them under shrubs, between trees, everywhere! Becky and I dug up junipers, euonymous, many varieties of cotoneaster, and hen and chickens. We even got a palm tree that a teacher threw out the window at a school! By wintertime (about two and a half months later), we'd collected about 150 plants.





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