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Looking for a thoughtful gift idea? Why not share one or more of your favorite houseplants? Most are easy to propagate.
When you think about making a gift of a plant, consider places in your friend's home that might benefit from a new plant or two. Almost any species that grows from several stems can be divided into new plants that eventually will grow as big as the parent plant.
Propagate by root division To divide a plant, gently knock it out of its container and shake off as much Planting Medium as you can. Now, inspect how the roots are growing.
Some put out new leaves and roots from stems - and from rootlike structures that grow from the parent plant on or below the Planting Medium surface. The cast-iron plant (below) shows how these new plants can be separated from their "parents" by cutting the clump into two sections with a sharp knife. Then, repot each section according to normal planting instructions
Runners In nature, trailing plants - such as an airplane plant or strawberry begonia - send out aerial runners that develop into miniature plants. The weight of each plantlet pulls it to earth, then it takes root.
Other plants - such as bromeliads, cactus and some succulents - develop offsets that look just like the parent, only smaller. Look for offsets at the base of a plant.
Since runners and offsets are both baby plants that are seeking a place to grow, they root readily.
Air Layering Big bushy plants, such as the Croton at right, offer a leafy
way to round out a well-lighted bedroom corner. Trouble is, woody-stemmed species sometimes tend to grow top-heavy, especially if they've been too long in dim light.
You can restore these to their former beauty, and gain a new plant as well, by air layering.
To do this, you make an incision in the stem about 12 to 18 inches down from the tip, wrap it with damp sphagnum moss, and wait for roots to develop from the cut.
When this happens, you then cut off the stem below the roots and plant the top section in fresh Medium. In time, new growth also will sprout from the cut-off stem.
What else do you give the indoor gardener who has everything? Every gardener loves gardening gifts.
How about these also for a couple of great gardening gifts:
Mini greenhouse: Grow some green inside during the winter, great for starting seedlings off!
A Topiary set: A topiary frame, two ivy plants and a nice pair of shears.