In USDA Growing Zones 9-11, cold snaps and frosts don’t happen very often, but when they do, it does require us to do a few more steps to prepare our gardens and food forests. Some plants, like newly planted trees, need extra protection and some plants are better off being brought indoors. For a list of what plants need protection and how to do it, CLICK HERE.
There are other plants, however, that it is important to take “insurance cuttings” of just in case they don’t survive. These cuttings can be easily planted in small pots and brought indoors to root, and then can be transplanted in the spring after the danger of frost has past.
Here are 5 Tropical Plants to Take Cuttings of Before a Cold Snap
- South Sea Salad
- Auntie Lilies South Sea Salad
- Longevity Spinach
- Okinawa Spinach
- Brazilian Spinach
TIP: If you are looking to order these plants, here is where I get mine: https://www.anaturalfarm.com/live-plants
How to Propagate the Cuttings
First, take sterile pruners and cut a 6″ piece of each plant, removing all the leaves except one at the top. With your pruners, cut the top leave in half. This will stimulate growth hormones in the plant, but still allow a little bit for photosynthesis. This is a great time to take multiple cuttings, so you have more to plant or give away.
Second, plant the cutting in a four inch pot (1/2 of the stem below the soil), making sure that at least one leaf node is buried in the soil. Use a loose potting mix with excellent drainage.
Water the plant thoroughly and place in a shaded area outside OR a sunny window indoors. Allow soil to fully dry out between watering in order to force the plant the send out new roots.
Keep the plant protected for 30 days, occasionally misting the leaves. Only plant in the ground after the danger of frost (usually mid-march in most climates).
Plants to Save Seed From (that do not grow as well from cuttings)
A. Roselle (Jamaican) Sorrel
B. Cranberry Hibiscus
C. Cape Cod Gooseberry
E. Royal Poinciana (in Zone 9)