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Gardening tips on propagating lady slipper plants

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: October, 2013, Page 119
The mostly leafless slipper flower plant bears unusual-looking blooms.



ASK THE EXPERTS

Q - How do I propagate my slipper flower plant?

A - Also called lady slipper, Pedilanthus macrocarpus is easy to propagate from either division or stem cuttings, according to Phoenix-area horticulturist Robyn Baker. The most important thing is to be aware that its milky sap may irritate skin and eyes, so be sure to wash hands thoroughly after propagating.

Pedilanthus isn’t fussy about soil, but as with most succulents, good drainage is a must, whether the plant is in a pot or the ground. Although stems are somewhat fragile, they are easily teased apart while keeping roots intact. If smaller stems break off or you cut them at the joints, allow them to dry in a shady spot on a piece of newspaper for a day or two before planting.

When transplanting, combine cuttings that have curly stems with those with longer, straighter stems for a more visually appealing presentation. “I put the longer ones together in a pot to grow as a ‘mother’ plant and generate more offshoots for future propagation,” notes Baker.

Gently firm the soil around the stems and tie them together loosely about 6 inches above the soil line. Ties can be cut from the legs of old pantyhose or any soft fabric. Water thoroughly several times a week for the first few weeks after transplanting, gradually reducing watering frequency to several times a month. New plantings will need shade and more frequent watering if propagated during the heat of summer.
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