come Spring, the plant lovers cannot desist from the opportunity of multiplying their existing plant stock especially the ones that can be vegetatively propagated through stem cuttings. The success rate is the highest during the spring owing to better vascular movement. I'm an ardent gardener myself.
My first encounter with Dracaena Fragrans Victoriae (DFV) a.k.a. Corn Plant was in the summer of 1998, when I was in college and visited a nursery just before the summer break. I didn't know it's name then. Planted in a 6 inch pot, it rose a foot above the soil with one cluster, of glossy oblong leaves with green and yellow stripes running through the length of the leaves, at the top end of the round woody stem. It looked beautiful. Over the years, I have multiplied it to 6 independent plants from the one I had. I propagated it again last week. On a 100% success rate, it will take the count to 10,
About the plant
The plant contains one or more woody stems resembling a cane with a crown of leaves drooping downwards. As the plant grows, the crown of leaves moves upwards and the older leaves wither thus exposing a beautiful woody round stem. The stem would branch if the crown is cut.
With it's variegated, shiny long leaves, it adds to the ambiance and thrives well indoors. DFV withstands low to direct sunlight, is a low maintenance plant. It is doing well in my terrace garden at Bahadurgarh (28.68°N 76.92°E) where the temperature varies from 4 to 45 deg. celsius through the year. Once in a year, remove the top soil and add manure. As the plant grows shift it into a bigger pot. Keep the soil moist. Do not overwater or underwater.
How I propagate
- The soil mixture - The potting mix. must contain soil and manure in equal quantity. Use a trowel to mix well. Get a 12" flower pot. Cover the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot with small stones and pebbles to ensure that it is not blocked by the potting mix and the excess water is able to seep out. Fill the pot with the mix. till 1.5" from the top. This ensures that the water does not overflow during watering.
- Identify the mother stem - Pick a DFV stem that is tall enough and woody. Older the stem, better are the chances of rooting.
Use a sharp pruning shear or secateur to cut the stem from the bottom. The cut must be clean which is only possible if you use a sharp tool else it will rupture the stem instead.
- Cut the stem into smaller pieces - Once the stem is detached from the mother plant, lay it on the ground. Remove the crown which contains green fleshy stem and leaves.
Assess the number of cuttings that can be made out of the stem. 8" to 10" is a good size. Now using the secateur, cut the long stem into smaller sized pieces. I was able to get 4 pieces out of the stem.
- Pot the cuttings - Now into the flower pot push each of the cuttings half their length into the soil. The cuttings must be equidistant from each other.
Water the pot with a sprinkler. The excess of water will seep out through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
Although you can apply rooting hormone powder, to aid rooting, to the base of these cuttings before pushing them into the soil, but it is not really required as it is SPRING now.
- Post-potting care - Place the pot in shade, most likely under some bigger plant in the garden in order to avoid direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist. Sprinkle the water onto the cuttings and the soil in the early mornings and evenings. If you take good care of the cuttings, then in around 30 to 40 days, the roots will form at the base of each potted cutting and green shoots will appear near the top ends of the cuttings. You will have your new DFV ready to be planted into separate pots.
Gardening brings you closer to the nature and is a great learning experience. The joy and satisfaction that you derive on seeing your efforts take shape, is no less than the one you have on successful compilation of your code on your Desktop.
In my next blog I will share with you how well my Cycad pups, from the previous year, are doing. Till then go look for things that you can do to add some greens to your surroundings.