A couple of years ago I bought some lovely lupines and delphiniums, unfortunately I forgot to note the exact breed so I would have difficulty buying more of the same – for that reason I decided to take my own cuttings and propagate more plants which will hopefully flower next year.
How to Propagate Lupines and Delphiniums
The best way to propagate lupines and delphiniums is to take basal cuttings. Propagating from seed will generally not breed true to the parent flowers and the off-spring will usually be different colours and not as strong as the parent flowers. (Incidentally you can and should divide delphiniums every three years – this is quite a big job as the whole plant needs to be dug up – Lupines on the other hand do not like being dug up and you may kill your plant by trying to propagate from division)
Do not be put off by the somewhat esoteric sound of basal propagation – it simply means propagting from the base of the plant rather than it’s stem. This is because plants which require basal propagation have hollow stems and the only place where the stem is solid is at the base and it is from there you will be able to grow new roots.
Simply select a small new shoot and gently remove the earth one or two centimetres from around its base, then using a sharp knife cut through the stalk. Use a mixture of well draining compost and gravel or if you’re feeling posh you can mix in perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage! Insert the cutting a couple of inches into the compost and firm it in taking care not to damage it in the future.
Some Tips and Tricks for Basal Propagation
- Take the cuttings in the morning when the plants are full of water
- Leave as little time as possible between taking the cuttings and putting them in their rooting medium
- Use a rooting hormone such as Rooting Powder
- If you don’t have a heated propagating bench, keep your cuttings on a windowsill and place a polythene bag over them to keep moisture in
- Mist your cuttings regularly using a spray bottle
- Remove lower foliage on your cuttings to keep moisture loss to a minimum, leave a couple of higher leaves to provide nourishment to the plant.
So now my cuttings are potted and in position on my kitchen windowsill all I have to do is hope I’ll have some more lupines and delphiniums for next year!