If your dwarf Marguerites, yellow and blue daisies or petunias look thin and weak, it`s probably the result of poor feeding or too dense growth. The only thing to do is cut back and fertilize at the same time. This will encourage new shoots, buds and flowers to develop.
Balcony and tub plants are cut back in the autumn far too timidly by most gardeners. This results in tall, unsightly geranium and fuchsia bushes. It`s much better to cut back all shoots by about half – slightly less for slipper-word and Lantana. It´s best to prune before bringing the plant inside, enabling you to check further development of the plant in its winter habitat right from the start. The plants then have the whole of the winter to form shoots, which can then develop immediately at the beginning of March.
It gives these plants a head start on those which are not pruned until the spring. It´s possible that even in a cool and light cellar green shoot tips of more than 8 cm will form, and these too should be cut back to achieve a really bushy growth. The same applies for Marguerite bushes, whose shoots should be cut by about a third. And the leafless branches of the angelica can cope with an even more radical pruning.
It´s important to have a sharp, clean gardener`s knife with which to take cuttings from the parent plant. You should take as long a cut as possible below a leaf node, taking care not to squash. The cutting must never be too long, but also not too short – and it should have at least two or three pairs of leaves. Then follow these directions:
Half fill the plant pots with light soil and place a mixture of peat and sand on top.
Before planting, bore a small hole in the soil with a small piece of wood, enabling the cutting to be placed undamaged in the propagating bed and stand firmly.
Place the young plants close together, thus increasing their stability. This way you can be certain that the cuttings will take root.
Correct care of you new plants should include protecting them against the sun by covering them with paper. Don´t water the cuttings, but moisten them with a fine rose spraying device, and improve the air by daily lifting the glass or foil bells.
House plants which have become too tall or too wide should be cut back. Like bushes in the garden, sometimes this is necessary to correct the appearance of plants or to stimulate them to form new shoots, buds or flowers. A budding or spicing knife makes the work easy for you. But for birch figs you`ll need secateurs, because the twigs can be as hard as forsythia or privet. Use the cut-off tendrils of ivy, honeywort or creeping fig and the shoots of variegated nettles, myrtles of Dieffenbachia as cuttings for further breeding. Cut back the branches of the Passiflora to a few centimeters above the ground after blooming.