Tag: free plants

Grow Free Hydrangeas Through Layering

We have five large Nikko Blue hydrangeas, and I’d love to create a long sweep of them in our yard. They’re planted just opposite my kitchen window and bloom from June through the first frost. Last fall, I layered them in the hopes of gaining loads of baby plants (layers) for free. I layered 20 branches and 16 of them have taken root.

The layering process is super simple and I hope you will give it a try. A note about timing: I do this at the end of summer, while the branches are flexible enough to bend to the ground without breaking. In Virginia, this means mid-late October. I’ve read that you can layer plants in the spring, but I haven’t tried it.

You will need:

  • An established, healthy “mother” hydrangea – ask a friend if you can layer theirs if you don’t have one
  • Rocks, bricks, small children or other heavy object(s) for weight
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Wintertime and patience

Find a healthy, lower branch of the plant. I select branches that are leafy, with no flowers. Without disturbing the leaves at the tip, break off the next lower set of leaves down to the branch. The place where you removed the leaves is the node.

Gently lower the node to the ground, loosen the soil under it and then pile at least an inch of soil on top of the node. Place a rock or brick on top to weight it down securely. Water the mother plant occasionally if needed.

Wait until Spring and check on your plants. New growth at the tip of the branch indicates that your baby plant has taken root.

Leaving the rock or brick in place, snip the branch between the weight and the mother plant as below and give the baby a few weeks of living on its own before transplanting. Be sure to water the layer baby daily until it is established, more often in hot weather. If the baby is very small, you might wish to delay transplanting for an entire growing season.

When transplanting small plants like these, I dig a hole about 12″ deep and 12″ across. Make sure the roots have plenty of loose soil to grow into. I like to mix in a little garden soil to lighten up our heavy clay soil. Once you’ve transplanted the babies, they will need some TLC. Water them each morning for a few weeks and then as needed until they are established.

I’ve only done this with hydrangeas, but I understand this works for other plants such as forsythia, rhododendron, azalea. I would love to know if you try it and how the process works for you.

Happy gardening!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

7 Great Ways To Get Plants For Free

Don’t you just love getting something for free? What better way to improve your garden than to add some green without spending any green?

Nikko Blue Hydrangeas

Self Seeding and Spreading Plants: These beauties will do the work for you! Plunk them in the ground and let them do their thing. Water them well for a few weeks until they are established and walk away. Seriously. Plants to try: Sedum, Vinca Major, Vinca Minor, Solomon’s Seal

When we moved houses we brought along a few Solomon’s Seal plants. They’ve since spread to fill in this bed.

Sweat Equity – Trade a little Work: Last Spring I spotted daffodils growing in the woods behind the building where I work. I struck a deal with the property owner to transplant half of them into a landscaping bed in front of the building in exchange for the other half of the bulbs. I brought about 7 large clusters of bulbs home.  


These little guys are just poking their heads up in the planting bed at work.

Dividing: Dig the plant up by the roots and slice it in half if it’s small or into more sections if it is a large plant. Be sure to leave plenty of healthy roots on each section. Hosta, Liriope and Scented Geraniums all take this well.

Layering: This technique works well for one of my favorite plants, the hydrangea. With an investment of a little work and some patience, you can have a sweep of hydrangeas for free. Here’s how: In the Fall, find a healthy lower branch of the plant without flowers. Without disturbing the leaves at the tip, break off the next lower set of leaves down to the branch. The place where you removed the leaves is the node. Gently lower the node to the ground, loosen the soil under the node, then pile about an inch of soil over the node and place a rock or brick over to hold it in place. Water occasionally if needed. Wait until Spring and check on your plants. New growth at the tip of the branch indicates that your baby plant has taken root. Leaving the rock or brick in place, snip the branch between the weight and the mother plant and wait a few more weeks before transplanting the baby. Try this with Forsythia too.

My layered hydrangeas; waiting for Spring.

Propagate in Water: My brother and sister-in-law had beautiful purple sedum in their wedding centerpieces. Afterwards, I took several of the cuttings and placed them in clear glasses of water on my kitchen window sill. Topping off the water occasionally, in a few weeks they had formed nice long roots. I then transplanted them into pots and eventually into a garden bed.

Sedum propagated in water.

Municipal Swaps and Give Away: A neighboring town hosts a plant/bulb/seed swap at their library. Bring a plant, take a plant. At the end of the growing season, our city offers a plant give-away. They remove flowers and grasses from municipal planting beds and heap them up in a parking lot. There is usually a mix of annuals and perennials, so it helps to know which plants you want and what type of care they will need.

This patch of Black Eyed Susan started from one little plant I found in the corner of my Grandma’s back yard.

Pass Along: These may be the best plants yet; plants with a story. I love to walk around my yard looking at plants that came from my Grandma’s garden in the Midwest. I have pink peonies from plants that my Mom recalls watching my Grandpa dig up from his mother’s yard nearly 60 years ago. I have Lily of the Valley from my in-law’s garden and loads of pass-alongs from my sister-in-law.

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.