Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Stick and Grow Garden

Another of my favorite gardening techniques is to stick something in the ground and hope it grows. Maybe I should change the name...it's not much different from the throw and grow concept, except with this method I dig a hole with my mini-shovel and just stick my hope in the ground.

Plumeria (flor de mayo, frangipani) is the easiest.  You can simply break off a branch from a healthy - even flowering tree - and stick it in the ground. This one looks pathetic, but check out the determination of this cutting!  The flowers and new leaves are desperately trying to reach for the sky, while the older blooms don't seem to understand why they had to undergo surgery in the first place.  What's important is....it's growing! And it's the rainy season.

In Hawaii, they bag and sell six inch cuttings to tourists who dream of enjoying the sweet scent of the flower at home in their backyards in Kansas.  Most of those pieces don't survive in colder climates, but snipping a stick from one side of the wall and planting it on the other in the tropics is almost a sure bet.  I'll concede the cutting doesn't appear to be real happy about its relocation. For now.  Give it some adjustment time. We overflow the pool a lot and it'll get watered regularly.

Many succulents are perfect for stick and grow.  Everything in the pot below was just stuck in there.  It may be time to remove the overpowering plant and stick in a few smaller cuttings.  It's growing out of control. I don't know what this plant is, but it could easily overtake your property if you aren't careful. It multiplies faster than bunnies or cockroaches. But check out the stick cactus. It's great stuff.  My friend Mike gave me a sizable cutting last year, and it's been stuck all over the property since.  It's nearly impossible to kill and gives an eclectic look to any succulent arrangement.

This old sink is home base for the stick cactus, I take cuttings from this now misshapen plant to electicize the rest of the garden!  In front of it is another sad example of the plumeria we trimmed from the neighbor's tree. We didn't go out and steal flor de mayo branches, although I have done that after too much wine in Hawaii.... The blooms falling from the abandoned property next door into the pool gave it a Balinese feel, but they'd start to rot by the side of the pool and that ruined the effect. So we cut the bugger back.

Pineapple is always fun. In Hawaii, Maxine grew the absolute best white pineapples and always gave me plenty. I got into the habit of planting every pineapple top.  After a couple of years I had quite the crop of my own.  Here I have had trouble with soil, but the zen garden seems to work for this one. 

For me the miracle of all stick and grow is the poinsettia pictured below.  I dutifully cut back our other poinsettia plants (that Pablo successfully transformed from Christmas containers to beautiful flowering bushes two years ago.)  One of them needed to be evened out, and I cut a few good sized branches.  Below is the result of that cutting and the branch I stuck in the ground in April.
I haven't ever been able to transplant a poinsettia, let alone get one to grow from a stick. I didn't even have Root Tone!  If it flowers it will be the miracle Christmas flower. From the size of it, I'd better wait until next year before I get too excited about blooms.


Anonymous said...

i used the stick and grow method for plumeria, which resulted in 2 huge plumeria trees in our kona front yard....i think it may have been you who gave me the original "stick"!
that 35 foot high coconut palm in front of our house was also the result of stick and grow...i half buried a sprouted coconut while the house was being built about 20 yrs ago. still no coconuts, but what a tree!


Theresa in Mèrida said...

I find your garden amazing! As for plumeria, I stuck a piece that was about six inches tall in a pot, it's now three feet tall and flowering! It's so cool. I love your attitude towards gardening. The seeds you gave me from the malva plant sprouted btw.


Linda Dorton said...

Theresa, Thanks for the compliment, it means a lot from someone who once had an English garden. You are the gardener on the block, I just work on the fringes!

mcm said...

Nice work -- I'm a big fan of the stick and grow method (and the plants that respond to it).
FYI, the one that multiplies like bunnies is some type of Kalanchoe -- there are about 125 species. All are great rock garden plants, though some, as you say, tend to take over (to put it mildly), since new plants can grow from every lobe on the scalloped edged leaves.
The stick cactus is Euphorbia tirucalli, usually known as pencil plant.
The native plumeria (species obtusa)is a good to look for -- it will stay evergreen during the dry season (here, I find that all the Plumeria rubra lose their leaves, though maybe if you water them constantly they wouldn't). We acquired our Plumeria obtusa by breaking off branches from trees in the monte, between Conkal and Chicxulub Puerto.

Linda Dorton said...

Thanks for the excellent information on the plants. Thank God for pictures and helpful people on the internet! You may be a FAN of stick and grow, but I bet you have a fantastic garden!

I've got at least two types of the kalanchoe. I did some thinning out of some of it this week.

In Hawaii, the plumeria would flower, grow leaves while flowering, drop the flowers, drop the leaves and be big sticks for a while. Then the process started over. I haven't been able to see the neighbor's plumeria until it peeked over the wall, so I can't say. If I remember, I will follow up. Thanks again for the info.

Islagringo said...

OMG! That unidentified plant is known locally as "mother of millions". It is aptly named. Each one of those seeds on the tips of the leaves is a plant just waiting to happen. Get rid of them. They take over everything and clog out your other plants. I got "rid" of every one I could find 2 years ago and I am still finding the occassional straggler showing up in a pot.

Merida Mikey said...

Stick and grow - way to go!!!!

Sorta of like "survival of the fittest"! I like it!

Linda Dorton said...

Isla, I know those things are amazing! They make cockroaches look sterile! What is really funny is a neighbor(around the corner) gave me the plants...and there isn't ONE plant on her property I would have growing near my house. I am amazed she sold that useless place in such difficult economic times. Guavas grow into the kitchen and drop into the dip pool.
Anyhow I pull off their babies and toss them, and my place is so much concrete that I will play with them in my succulent areas. Thanks for the advice, I hear it loud and clear.