WARNING: You are going to find this post really boring unless you’re into plants.
It’s nothing but plant sex in my garden at the moment. And plant sex is crazy. I am constantly astonished by the ways that my plants multiply and reproduce themselves.
Take violets. They are practically weed-like in the way that they send out runners to make new versions of themselves — they send out a little thing that looks like a stem, but then some new leaves and roots appear on it that will fix to any available soil. It makes a new “crown” that, once established, can live independently of the parent plant.
I have a flower bed in my garden entirely devoted to violets and it constantly sends out runners. For instance:
That’s the violet patch on the left. It used to be in a distinct bed much further to the left, which you can’t see because the plants jumped it and completely covered up the bed’s cement borders (which were ugly anyway, so no problem there). But the violets are now growing everywhere they can find room in between the pots.
I had never noticed violets produce seed pods as well, to reproduce, until just a few weeks ago. I had caught some runners before they established their weedy little selves in the ground and set them up in pots, to give to a garden-y friend — a simple matter of moving the shoot into a pot of soil and securing with a rock so that it doesn’t move, until it establishes roots, and then cutting the original stem.
One of the new plants appears to have decided this was the perfect time to make seed pods:
Randy little bugger.
Strawberries send out runners too — they’re the red, thin things trying to sneak out of this pot:
You’re supposed to cut these runners off before they make new plants (unless your plants are old and you WANT new ones) — otherwise the plants spend all their energy sending out runners rather than making fruit.
Obviously, strawberries have seeds too. But I’ve had no luck growing strawberry plants from the seeds my plants have produced.
Barely any germinate, and the ones that do have produced ridiculously tiny plants. The only seedlings that managed to get bigger
have never produced a single fruit. I took the photo above because the tiny strawberry that you can barely see would have been my first berry from the plant … if it hadn’t dropped off before it ripened 😦
Geraniums/pelargoniums are another plant that loves to reproduce — look at this plant:
It’s a lemon pelargonium (a lemon-scented geranium) that just sort of appeared in that spot. I had no idea how it got there, and theorised that I had dropped a cutting of its parent plant (which lives in a nearby pot) there during a pruning, and it had “struck” (this is incomprehensible gardening talk for cutting off a bit of the plant and sticking it in the ground, and having it grow roots and turn into a whole new plant). This has worked for me in the past, as geraniums are super easy to strike.
Anyway, I was totally wrong in my theory about how the plant got there, as I discovered when I tried to move the pot housing the original plant; the plant’s roots had escaped the bottom of the pot, grown over a metre (under a heap of bromeliads, also in pots) and then sent up a whole new plant. I wasn’t sure the plant would survive me cutting the roots so that I could move the pot, but it seems fine.
Speaking of bromeliads, and weird plant sex, all of mine seem to be multiplying like crazy. Bromeliads multiply by growing “pups”. You can see some in the pic below — the middle plant is the parent, and there’s three pups around it in various stages of maturity, including a very young one:
Aloe Veras make pups too, but for some reason my oldest one’s given up on them, and is now shooting out flower stalk after flower stalk. The current one has a seed pod on it — like with the violets, I’d never seen one before:
UPDATE: I almost left out the two plants that inspired my last post — I found another unexpected plant in my garden with a seed pod, in the form of a random apple-thing on the camellia tree:
Luckily last are some new plants I made from cuttings of my Mother-in-Law’s Tongue:
I’ve had this as an indoor plant for a while now. As specified on the label, I watered it very rarely, but apparently this was still too often; the plant’s roots started to rot.
Once one section of the plant is affected, it spreads, so in an effort to save the rest of the plant, I pulled out and cut away all the affected plant matter. This left me with long leaf cuttings, which the internet told me I could use to make new plants, but you have to let the cuttings dry out first.
This is the opposite of what you’d normally do when growing plants from cuttings (dry = dead, normally), so I confess I did experiment with trying to root just the one cutting without letting it dry out. Gooey messy disaster. Don’t bother.
Also not worth bothering is getting all excited once you see roots on the cutting, and thinking you can immediately plant it in some soil and everything will be awesome. I tried it and they just fell out repeatedly, eventually shriveling up and dying.
You have to wait bloody ages, until the new plants actually turn up, before you can plant them; and plants grown from cuttings lose their yellow stripes:
Ah well. At least they look decorative while they’re hanging about, growing:
I don’t know why my plants are so focused on reproduction right now. Maybe they know something I don’t?
* In case you don’t recognise it — and really, why would you — the name of this post comes from the “Reproduction” song from Grease 2: