outdoors
Q&A
Q
l have tried to grow
Magnolia
grandiflora
and Camellia
sinensis via cuttings and
aerial layering, with no luck.
Propagation of Magnolia grandiflora is
difficult. When using a cutting, use a mist
chamber and treat the 6- to 9-inch soft wood
cuttings with 0.8% rooting hormone Indole
Butyric Acid (IBA). Rooting can take 60-90
days. Plants may bloom second year onwards.
It can be done through air layering as well; this
yields good results during the monsoon.
Camellia sinensis is not a problem. Soak seeds
for 24 hours in warm water before sowing or
take single nod cuttings from the middle
portion of primary shoots and treat them with
a rooting hormone. Place the cuttings in a
planting medium with buds facing upwards.
Avoid direct sun. Keep the cuttings and the
medium moist. On rooting (that may take a few
months), they will be ready for transplanting.
Q
What does organic
mean? Is it possible to
grow organic fruits and
vegetables at home?
In simple terms, food that has been
produced, processed, and packaged
without the use of chemicals such as
artificial fertilizers, pesticides,
hormones, ripening chemicals, or
preservatives etc., is termed organic.
Organic production is followed to
conserve and sustain soil health, the
environment, and human health. If you
grow a plant (but in soil that has been
free of chemical residue for the last
three years), give it manure, but no
chemical herbicide or pesticides, you
will have an organic crop. Tt is not only
possible, but easy to grow organic fruits
and vegetables in home gardens. For
this, use organic manures and bio
fertilizers to provide soil nutrients, and
control pests and weeds manually,
mechanically or with botanicals only.
£
\ I want to grow
1 ^ 1 bougainvillea from a
^ cutting. Is it possible in
this weather? I live in Gurgaon.
Flowering creepers such as
bougainvillea are propagated by stem
cuttings and air layering preferably
during the monsoon. The hot and
humid conditions prevailing then
facilitate early and better rooting of
cuttings and layers, yielding a higher
percentage of well-rooted saplings. But
flowering creepers can also be
propagated in other seasons by creating
monsoon-like conditions. In Gurgaon,
you can use hard wood bougainvillea
cuttings taken from the middle section
of the stem, if you want to grow them
in winter. Dip the lower end of the
cutting in rooting hormone IBA
solution of 3,000 part per million
strength. Keep the pot or bed moist.
Saplings may be ready in 100 days. ££)
Horticulture expert Brahma Singh, author
of
R o ses o f R ashtrap ati Bhavan
and Trees
o f R ashtrap ati Bhavan,
answers common
gardening queries. If you have any
questions, write to
1 0 8 FEBRUARY 2011
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS
PHOTOGRAPHS: AMIT SHARMA
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