story takes four children: Amanda, Peter, Laura and
Jason from New York City to a small town in west Texas
and describes good times and bad times as they grow
from childhood to adulthood
Come September has just been released. Order it now!
In Virginia Bickel?s second book, she turns from
historical fiction to mystery. Come September is the
story of Daniel Lindsey?s quest to identify the young
woman found unconscious in front of his store, and to
find out what she was doing on Mesa Street, in El
Paso, Texas. She brings to this genre her skill with
character development and dialogue. You won't be
Please click on the thumbnail to view
the picture full size.
The fuchsia is an easy plant to propagate, and with suitable
technique cuttings can be taken at any time of year. The natural cycle of growth
means that there is a wide variation in the nature of the shoots available for
propagation, though the basic principles involved are always the same. The
advice given here on the selection and preparation of the cutting material is
divided according to the seasons. It is mainly concerned with plants growing in
the greenhouse. Cuttings can also be taken from plants growing in the garden,
but propagation material obtained from this source will inevitably be behind the
schedules outlined below, and an allowance must be made accordingly.
At this time the plants are beginning to grow strongly again after a period of
slow growth or dormancy in winter. There should not, at this stage, be any signs
of flower buds forming. When the new shoots have readied 2 1/2 inches in length,
the end 1 1/2 in is cut off using a very sharp knife or razor blade, leaving
approximately 1 in remaining on the plant. The two lower leaves are removed, and
the cutting is ready to be inserted (click on illustration to see it full size).
It is unimportant whether the cutting is taken immediately below a leaf axil or
not, as either type will root easily at this time of year. A hormone rooting
powder is not essential as this type of cutting will root easily without it, but
a preparation containing a fungicide such as Captan can sometimes protect the
cutting from rotting.
At this time of year and for optimum results a soil temperature in the region of
64 Fahrenheit is necessary, so some form of greenhouse propagator should be used
to reduce heating costs. Under optimum conditions progress is rapid and rooting
will be well advanced in seven to ten days. If access to a simple propagator or
heated bed is not possible, or if the stock plants from which the cuttings are
to be ?taken are not sufficiently advanced, the cuttings are best taken later
in the year; alternatively, they can be rooted on a windowsill in a warm house.
Once the new shoots produced in the spring have enlarged and started to show
flower buds, cuttings taken from them will root more slowly and the losses will
he greater. Flowering occurs when the level of various hormones within the plant
changes, and this process unfortunately also slows down vegetative growth and
the production of roots.
Cuttings taken during the summer will need to be longer than those taken in the
spring: shoot tips approximately 2-3 in long are ideal. The lowest pair or two
pairs of leaves are removed and the lower end of the cutting is trimmed to just
below a leaf node; any flower buds should be removed as they will continue to
grow and weaken the cutting. A hormone rooting powder should be used for this
type of cutting
In the summer no extra heating or special apparatus is required for rooting
purposes, and many amateur growers choose the warmer months for propagat?ing
their favourite plants. This is the basis of the so-called biennial method,
where plants are propagated in one year to mature and flower the next season.
This system has the advantage that the plants that need to be carried through
the winter are relatively small, but will produce large specimens for the next
year. Many exhibitors prefer to take summer cuttings because of this.
The weather in early autumn is often almost the same as in late summer; the type
of cutting material obtained and its treatment is also the same at this time,
but later in the autumn the plants will produce semi-hardwood, non-flowering
cuttings. These cuttings, which can be any length up to a maximum of about 7 in,
are torn off the stock plant so as to form a heel, the lower leaves are removed
and the cutting is dipped in hormone rooting powder and inserted in the usual
manner. Cuttings taken in this way are slow to root. They will often lose their
leaves during the winter, and will not start to show new growth until the
following spring. These cuttings must be kept at a minimum temperature of 7?c
(45?F) throughout the cold weather or they will probably die.
In early winter, semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken as described for the autumn
period. As they are unlikely to root until spring they must also be kept at a
minimum temperature of 7?c (45?fah). Depending on the temperature maintained,
in late winter young cuttings of new growth become available, and these are
treated in the same manner as spring cuttings.
One of the most important principles involved in plant propagation is to take
cuttings only from the very best plants. The potential mother plants should be
carefully selected for freedom from disease and for their vigour, quantity and
quality of flower, and whether they are typical examples of the particular
species or cultivar. The cuttings taken from such plants will perpetuate these
desirable characteristics. It is a mistake to raise a number of plants for
display or exhibition and to use the misshapen failures for propagation. This
will probably reduce the quality of next season's specimens and cause a gradual
decline in the quality of the collection.
After the cuttings have been selected and prepared as described, they are ready
for planting. As soon as they have been inserted they should be thoroughly
watered overhead with a fungicide containing benomyl or iprodione to prevent
formation of botrytis (grey mould), which is encouraged by the close, humid
conditions required for rooting.
The choice of rooting medium is a matter of personal preference, but it is
important to use a compost or other material which is specially formulated for
the purpose, or results can be very disappointing. Ordinary potting composts
usually contain a high level of fertilizer, which will inhibit good root
formation in the early stages of growth. Soil-less seed sowing or cutting
composts generally give best results, but John Innes cutting compost, if
available, works well.
The cuttings can be planted a few inches apart in trays, or a smaller number can
be planted round the edge of a pot. Small individual containers or partitioned
trays in which single plants can be rooted have always been popular with
commercial growers, and many are now available to the amateur. The advantage of
the small individual containers is that the plants raised in them can be
transplanted with the minimum of root disturbance, and they will grow away more
quickly when potted on.
Cuttings can also be inserted in other materials such as vermiculite or perlite,
which can either he used alone or mixed with an equal volume of moss peat. These
materials contain no fertilizer at all, and it is vital that cuttings rooted in
this way are moved into a normal potting compost as soon as possible to avoid a
check in growth.
The small, softwood cuttings available in the late winter and spring are often
preferred as they tend to root very easily, but they also have a tendency to
wilt, particularly in hot, dry weather. If this process occurs it will seriously
impair the ability of the cutting to root, and it is of paramount importance to
take all steps possible to prevent excessive wilting. In hot weather, plants
intended for propagation should be kept well watered, and as soon as the
cuttings are taken they should be dropped into a container partly filled with
water. This will ensure that they do not deteriorate before being inserted into
the rooting medium.
Once the cuttings have been planted it is still necessary to take every
precaution to prevent wilting, and in summer a minimum of a 50 per cent
reduction in the light level will be required. They will also need to be
enclosed in a propagating case or some sort of transparent or translucent tent
to provide a close, humid atmosphere. Individual pots can be enclosed in
polythene bags to provide the correct micro-climate around the cuttings. Do not
forget to enclose a suitable label with each batch of plants. These special
conditions apply mostly to spring and summer cuttings; the more woody cuttings
taken in the late autumn and winter are generally given open greenhouse
conditions from the start.
When the plants are well rooted they should be uncovered as soon as possible,
but the shading must be retained for a few more days until they have become
accustomed to the drier air. Cuttings that have rooted can, with a little
practice, be recognized by their healthy, turgid appearance, which is quite
different from the dull look of a cutting that has failed to root. Once the
young plants arc fully rooted and are showing signs of new growth, they should
be potted up before there is any check to growth, as this can seriously affect
the future potential of the plant.
Although the use of a greenhouse or similar facility is desirable, it is still
possible to propagate fuchsia plants entirely in the open. Semi-hardwood
cuttings are best for this purpose; they can be found on outdoor plants in mid
to late summer. The ideal cutting would be about 4 in from the tip to where it
joins the main branch. This junction will probably be beginning to turn brown as
the wood begins to mature. The cutting is torn off the main branch leaving a
small heel at the base of the stem. A few of the lower leaves and any flower
buds are removed, and the base of the cutting is dipped in hormone rooting
powder and then either inserted directly in the open ground near the mother
plant or placed in a small container that can be sited in a shady position
elsewhere in the garden. The cuttings should be watered after they are planted
and re-watered as necessary in dry weather. A number of such cuttings should be
taken, as losses can be high.
The plants will be well rooted in autumn, and they can either be dug up and
given winter protection under glass or, in the case of the hardy cultivars, can
be heavily mulched with peat and allowed to remain in position until the spring.
When new growth appears the young plants can be carefully removed and replanted
into their final position.
with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright ? 2000 Fuchsia Land. All rights reserved.
October 09, 2003 14:31:14