One of Auntie Em’s Guides to Life is to BE FRUGAL. If you love having a beautiful garden it can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to! I like low-maintenance plants… the law of the jungle applies in Auntie Em’s garden– the survival of the fittest. No divas here!
The good thing about passalong plants is that they usually propagate (make new plants) easily. The other fun thing is that then you have a plant with story! I’ll share some that I’ve had success with, and how I did it. Most of the time I cut a tender stem (not a hard woody one) and put it in regular potting soil. Sis usually roots in water; experiment to see what works best! Some really hardy plants can go directly into the ground, especially if you water regularly.
I took a snip off the top of Sunshine’s coleus. I stuck the stem in a pot, but there were some big leaves too. I pulled this one off and tucked it in among a hibiscus, not knowing whether or not it would root that way. It did.
Here is the pot where I put all the little babies. It will grow into a beautiful accent; then I can pinch off more! Coleus is a wonderful, versatile plant that is available in many different colors, and does will in pots or in the ground, in sun or in shade.
This althea (Rose of Sharon, in the mallow family) came from a cutting from my mother-in-law (Granny of Granny’s cornbread). I actually thought it was a hibiscus (They are cousins.) and put it in a pot, and by the time I realized it was althea, it was too late to put it in the ground. I’ll do that this fall after the weather cools off.
This exotic-looking trumpet shaped flower is called alstromeria, or Peruvian lily. It has a fancy cousin that is often used in cut arrangements, but this is anything but fancy! I got this one from Granny too, and have given away tons of it. If it’s planted in a happy place, it can become invasive, spreading by seed on top and tubers below ground. Be sure to cut the seedpods off to slow it down.
I got this hardy gladiola from a lady that went to our church for much longer than I have. She was there when Granny and PawPaw took Mr X and his brother and sister as children, and she has passed now. But every spring, when these come up again, I remember Miss Freddie and how she shared what she had with whoever needed it!
I got this gorgeous angel wing begonia from my friend Nedra. We’ve shared lots of cuttings and snips over the years. This one actually started life at Granny’s house, then Nedra got a snip, so mine is sort of like a grandchild!
I discovered Persian shield this year, and I LOVE it! I bought 4 overgrown, leggy, 4 inch pots; put 3 in the ground and one in a pot to see where it was happiest. The ones in the ground died quickly. I pinched off several pieces from the one in the pot (here is one; it rooted almost overnight!) and it was a good thing, because I let the pot dry out and it died! Fortunately, I still have the new one.
The lantana was a seedling from my piano teacher. He always keeps a beautiful, well-manicured lawn, and I love the way the lantana looks like a party! The butterflies love it. Seedlings come up easlity, but they aren’t invasive.
Here are some more that I’ve shared, or that reseed easily and come back year after year. Sometimes, flower colors will change from one year to the next (as with the vinca, which started life 3 generations ago as lavendar) but that’s just part of the fun.
Don’t let frugality keep you from having beautiful flowers!