Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Wildly Successful Plants
Neophyte gardeners or weathered professionals can glean something from Pam Peirce in her book Wildly Successful Plants Northern California (Sasquatch Books, 2004; $24.95). She has put together a list of plants that thrive in northern California, including their care and propagation. She peppers the book with interesting historical facts in her playful writing style. Bay area residents will be familiar with Pam from her weekly column in the San Francisco Chronicle. If you enjoy her column you will love her book.
Clever Gardening Technique
I love to get something for nothing, and growing new plants from cuttings is just one of the ways I accomplish that particular miracle. Leaf cuttings can be taken from any plant with pronounced veins. Remove the petiole from the leaf you have selected. Make several V-shaped nicks in the widest portion of the vein on the back side of the leaf. Dust with rooting hormone and then lay the leaf, vein side down, onto a container filled with damp potting soil. Cover the prepared cutting with a plastic bag to retain moisture. Every few days, remove the bag and mist the cutting to keep things damp.
Within a few weeks you should begin to see new growth forming. Once the new plants have true leaves, repot into the next size container and keep moist. Plants that work well for leaf cuttings are philodendrons, African violets, and begonias.