How To Propagate Conocarpus
Silver buttonwood plant is also known as Conocarpus erectus and is a tropical evergreen that is native to Florida, South America, and the Caribbean. This garden beauty produces attractive grayish silky-velvety-soft leaves, the buttonwood habitats are Coastal Areas, Beach Dune, Marl Prairie, and Mangrove, the silver buttonwood plant can be grown as a tree or shrub and makes a great centerpiece, stand-alone plant, or specimen plant.
What also adds to the beauty of the silver buttonwood is its ability to withstand salt sprays (highly salt-tolerant) and will perform well in coastal gardens. Once establish the buttonwood plant becomes drought-tolerant, I have worked with this plant species on many garden projects and have seen that the silver buttonwood can bring beauty into a garden or landscape design. In this article, however, we will be discussing how to properly propagate this garden beauty.
12 Steps to Propagate Silver Buttonwood
1. Before taking silver buttonwood cuttings, fill a few or about 4, 6-inch plastic pots with equally mixed coarse sand, milled peat, and perlite. Once this mixture is blended or mixed together proceed to moisten it.
2. The ideal time to propagate the silver buttonwood tree is from late spring until early summer when it’s actively growing. Discontinue propagating when silver buttonwood is in full bloom because during this period buttonwood focuses its energy on producing flowers instead of producing roots.
3. When choosing your cuttings or branches from the parent plant ensure that cuttings that are chosen are not diseased, stunned, or stressed. what you want is, to begin with, healthy cuttings that will make the propagation process smooth and easy.
4. The part of the branch to take your cuttings from is the softwood which can be found at the tip of the buttonwood branch, each softwood cutting should be at least 6-inches long and 1/4-inch-thick with no buds or flowers.
5. With a sharp pruner that’s sterilized remove or snip the stem 1/4-inch below a pair of leaves, to reveal the growth nodes where the roots will form remove all of the leaves along the lower half of the stem.
6. The part of the stem that’s cut dip in water to moisten it then dip that seem cut end in root tone if the type you’re using is in powder form. There are 3 types of root tone, powder, gel, and liquid, only when using the powder type should the end of the stem be moistened in water first so the powder can cling to the stem. Root tone is a growth hormone that stimulates plant root growth.
7. With your finger or a firm object make a 3-inch hole in the potting mixture that you completed in step 1. Place each cutting separately in individual holes and gently firm the soil around each cutting.
8. Locate an area outdoors that gets indirect sunlight to place your cuttings, to increase the humidity level, and to encourage warm air around your cuttings Place 2-gallon plastic bags over them. To prevent rot from setting in remove or cut away one corner of the bag to encourage air circulation.
9. Every day, keep a check on your buttonwood cuttings, the leaves should be misted every day to keep them hydrated, the potting mixture should be most at all times. Feel the soil, if the first top 2 inches are dry to the touch then add water but a word of caution do not allow the soil to become soggy or waterlogged which can lead to rot.
10. Within a month your buttonwood cuttings should have produced a healthy root system, to test if your cuttings have rooted gently pull on the end of the stem to see if the cuttings feel anchored. If not then wait for a few more weeks which at this time your buttonwood should have produced a root system.
11. Once your buttonwood cuttings have produced roots prepare several 1-gallon pots filled with quality garden soil which can be prepared by you or purchased from your garden center or plant nursery. The pots should be placed in an area that gets indirect sunlight, make sure that the soil is somewhat moist at all times not waterlogged or water-saturated.
12. During mid-autumn your cuttings can be transferred in a plant bed or garden area in the full sunlight, the soil should also be soil that drains well.
The final word on silver buttonwood propagation
These 12 simple steps will ensure success as you seek to increase the amount of silver buttonwood in your garden and landscapes. I believe the time invested in propagating the buttonwood plant will pay off as you transform your garden and landscapes with the presence of this tropical beauty.