Thursday, October 2, 2014

Free Flowers!

I’ve waited an entire year to tell you this!! (Mostly that’s because I had to first be sure it worked before spreading it all over the internet.)

YOU can make flowers from flowers!

Never again do you have to spend your hard-earned money on big expensive pots of blooming annual flowers! True! If you have just one beautiful blooming annual beginning to sag in a pot on your porch right now, you’re good to go!

Don’t believe me? Okay here’s what I started with – a New Guinea impatiens I paid $20 for through one of the kids’ fundraisers. It bloomed beautifully all summer, but you can see here it’s getting long in the tooth by last October (that’s 2013!).

 Now, here’s that same New Guinea impatiens this summer:

And here’s more of that New Guinea impatiens:

And here are the pictures I forgot to take of the TWO New Guinea impatiens I gave away as gifts!

Okay, so now you’re on board. Now you’re saying – Give me some of that magic!

It’s easy as pie (which is a horrible analogy because anyone who’s ever made pie from scratch knows pie isn’t that easy). Growing plants from the plants you already own is simple. It does require a couple of things – an indoor growing space (fluorescent bulbs hung on the underside of a shelf work fine), some extra dirt, and organic fertilizer. I recommend Neptune's Harvest which smells pretty bad because its made from seaweed but works so well you don't mind the smell (it even inspires poetry).

When the nights start to get too cold for your beautiful pots of flowers that you paid too much for and can’t bear to see die, pull them out of their pots. Cut off the bottom third of the plant with a knife.

Then divide the plant in to 2, 3, or 4 sections using your knife. Cut away any extra dirt on the sides.

 Now cut away just about all of the foliage so that the plant is only a stubby little idea of the plant it once was. Be sure to cut off anything dead. Now plant these new babies into new pots and fill in with dirt. Water them well and fertilize them. (I do these two chores at one time by using a teaspoon of Neptunes in the watering can every time I water.)
Place your new baby plants under lights inside and watch them grow!

Mine bloomed again at the holidays and grew so well, I had to divide them again in late winter.
In the spring I repotted them into planters and hanging baskets and carefully hardened them off so that they wouldn’t burn when placed back in the real sun.

I did this same thing with geraniums, begonias, and a pretty wandering vine that had tiny white flowers on it.

So round up some pots. (Or save milk cartons and cut the tops off of them. Punch a few drainage holes in the bottom and they make great pots for this little project. They make better use of space because they’re square instead of round.) Buy a bag of dirt from the gardening center before they phase them out in favor of Christmas wreaths. Now you’re all set to make flowers from flowers!

Here's a few more of the flowers I grew from last year's flowers -

(Notice the vine with the tiny white flowers amongst more of the begonia from the same plant as above. There was so much of this vine by spring, I added it to just about every basket I made.)
Okay, maybe not the best shot of my geraniums - but they were the BEST flowers I produced - I divided them twice over the winter and they bloomed almost all winter. What do you really need at the end of a February colder than any on record? YES! BLOOMING GERANIUMS! I had so many by spring I gave them away for mother's day and teacher's presents, plus filled four flower boxes and two pots! All from the one original geranium I started with last October!

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