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.
Studying Permaculture and natural building in Central America offers amazing opportunities to learn from indigenous cultures, rich natural patterns, and enormous diversity. Permaculture in Central America is representative of the edge effect or Edge Valuing Principle of Design. As one of the world’s centres of biodiversity, Central America attracts people from all over the world interested in learning through nature. Permaculture practices can be seen in action via the surviving indigenous traditions that are common in Central America. Studying permaculture in Central America offers designers great opportunities to learn from diverse groups of people in incredibly diverse natural settings.