Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Yes, it really was called Macho Fern.
No, I don't know why.
Problem was that it looked like hell warmed over with all that mixing going on so I took it all out with a weedeater over a period of weeks.
I put in some landscape cloth to hold the weeds back and mulched over it but it looked sterile.
We wanted some plants we could grow that did not grow too quickly, gave color, and needed only a little care.
Liking the look of it, we settled on Croton. They are always colorful with a riot of red, yellow, and orange leaves. Very slow growing in our beach sand soil here. And no spines like my bougainvillea.
I swear I give a pint of blood every time I work with bougainvillea.
But most everything else on the property is from cuttings that I took here or there. Since I live where you vacation, I knew that Screw Palms were easy to propagate, so I put two stands of it in the island in front of the house. My Podocarpus was propagated into a new hedge to block the trash cans, there's some variegated Hibiscus that grows just about anywhere from cuttings - just snip and stick into the ground.
And I waited. The Screw Palms established themselves immediately but that Croton is doing what it does, grow slowly.
The Croton got leggy so I did what they do at any real landscaper would do - I took cuttings of that. They almost all started to grow - slowly.
So if you are planning on doing this on your own, expect between 80% and 90% success rate on Croton.
Here are the steps I took to propagate:
1) Find a length of branch that is about 8 to 12 inches long (20 to 30cm). Make sure that there are leaves at the end and no obvious pest infestations. Trim most of the leaves up the branch.
2) Rooting Hormone. Yes, this is required for Croton. Dip the end of the branch to about a half of a thumb length into the powder. Be generous with it.
3) The planting. I have had success with simply sticking cuttings into the soil, however my front garden is well watered. If you use a pot with good potting soil, make sure that it is well drained.
4) The Watering. Every single day. Without fail. For a Month. Two months is better.
5) The Waiting. A month should do it, but again, two is better. This will allow roots to become
6) Lather, Rinse, Repeat. That first picture up top is a couple iterations of this process. I started when the rains started back in April. Since we have distinct wet/dry seasons, I'll be able to get one more "crop" in before the rains stop in December. The ones on the left of the first picture will be joined by the ones in the nursery pot, and I will start more very shortly from that tall leggy beast on either side of the lower growing ones.
None of these plants are really that old, I started this back in spring. They do take their time getting established but they will grow.
Oh and an aside, if you find any scale insect or any other pests, a good removal spray is a teaspoon of dish soap and a tablespoon of vinegar to about 20 ounces or 600mL of water in a spray bottle. I had one of those Crotons that was infested with scale that died before I tried the spray. That was what got me started with all of this
Sure the plants are not all that expensive, but I like a good challenge, and plants that I created is always a good way to make sure that I'll continue an interest.