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Mr. Smarty Plants - How to Propagate Mexican Bush Sage in Marble Falls, Texas

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Tuesday - September 14, 2010

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Wildflowers
Title: How to Propagate Mexican Bush Sage in Marble Falls, Texas
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

I need advice on when, how to separate Mexican bush sage. Ours is happy and HUGE but is now sprouting from the roots at the base. Since we've been so successful with this plant, we want to divide it and use it elsewhere.

ANSWER:

I've just been collecting sages from my garden for a friend and I had some that were making new sprouts at the base also.  I just took my shovel and carefully cut between the parent plant and the shoot, then put the shoot in a pot filled with potting mix and watered it well.  I trimmed long shoots back by about a third and left the little babies with short shoots and  lots of roots alone.  I kept them in shade for about a week, then transplanted them. 

You can move them to a prepared new place immediately but provide them with shade. Just setting a pot upside down over them will work if you prop it so air can come in.  A piece of shade cloth can be used by putting in a few stakes. I like to use an organic liquid fertilizer in dilute amounts to help with the transplanting shock.  I was seeing new growth about a week after I planted them.  I prefer to divide the roots of plants in the spring, because it seems they are much more determined to grow then and the temperatures and humidity seem to stress them less than doing it later in the year.  And as plants get ready to go dormant, they don't respond as vigorously to dividing and you are more likely to lose some of the divisions. 

 I also took cuttings of several of my salvias and they are currently starting to root.  We are almost at the end of the season for summer cuttings and my research shows that they probably won't be suitable for winter cuttings.  But you can try following the instructions in the link below. I think you don't have to worry about  the directions being for a different species.  All the salvias behave pretty much the same. Go ahead and take several cuttings and try them.  If you haven't pruned your plant back for the fall gowth, do it now, then make some of the prunings into cuttings.  Just try to get the cuttings in the rooting medium as soon as possible after you cut them.  The longer they sit out, the fewer of them will sprout. 

Making Summer Cuttings

 Note:  If you don't have rooting hormone, you can find it at most nurseries. 

So try a few cuttings now, and take a few babies by root cuttings. Then leave the rest for next spring and summer. Usually you can start makng cuttings in late June and continue until September.  If they don't work one time, it may mean that the stems aren't mature enough to make more a few weeks later. Also you can take a long stem and cut it into several pieces and try rooting each piece. The woody parts from near the base may be too old, the tips too young and the middle ones just right. Just remember which end was originally the bottom and have at least one set of leaves on each cutting. You can cut off part of the leaves to help reduce the stress on the plant.  I usually use a dishpan with a mix of sphagnum and perlite and then put the dishpan into a white plastic garbage bag and pull the strings closed.  Then keep them in deep shade until after you see signs of growth.  Check daily to see if they need water. After you remove the bag, gradually increase the amount of light they get until you have them back in several hours of sun a day.  Lightly tug them to judge root development.  But lots of new growth also says they are ready to move up to a pot and grow big enough to plant in the landscape. 

 

 

 

 

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