Cuttings: Edible Flowers

Today we're taking another look at the plant propagation method of taking cuttings. Here's what we like to call "tropical cotton" (genus: albutilon), a beautiful and yummy edible flower which we include in all of our salad mixes.

Looking closely at the flower you see that there is no viable seed. So Question 2 is: are you woody and upright? The answer is yes, which tells us that we can propagate this plant by taking cuttings.  Cut some of the plant with your pruning shears, about 3' will make many new plants. Let's head over to the Propagation Station to get those cuttings going!

Find the nodes along the cutting (where leaves grow from--see an example in the video above). You always want to have at least 3 nodes  per cutting. As you plant the cutting in a bag, make sure that 2 out of the 3 nodes are underground. Fill the bag, using its own weight to tamp down the soil and create a flat bottom so that the bag will stay upright. Make sure that all the underground nodes have good contact with the soil.

Continue to make cuttings with 3-4 nodes each. They should be between 6" and 10" in length. Don't worry too much about which side is up or down; the plant has inherent growth potential and even though it gets planted upside down, as long as there is contact between the nodes and the soil roots will form and new growth will happen. As you get to the top of the plant and it becomes quite thin and whiplike, it is no longer great material for taking cuttings. Never leave flowers or fruit on a cutting, but you may leave some leaves (just don't forget the Root-Shoot Ratio: always trim them back!) The cuttings can also be planted in a nursery box, if you do not have bags on hand.

Happy propagating!

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