Unexpected Present


This stem cutting of Lepechinia calycina, also known as Pitcher Sage, is one of my first.  Or I should say, one of my first that appears to be thriving.  It’s funny because I remember as a kid the ladies in the neighborhood passing cuttings over fences, seeing cuttings in random pots or jars of water near the kitchen sink but, until recently, I haven’t ventured into propagation much past seeding or division.

I feel like I’ve reached into the pocket of a coat, tucked away since last season, to find a $20.00 bill I didn’t know I had.  I’ve just received an unexpected present and a whole new world of possibilities suddenly lay wide open in front of me.

I happened upon this particular cutting of Pitcher Sage while trail running on Mt. Tamalpais, near San Francisco, CA.  Its fragrance stopping me in my tracks.  With a quick turn I doubled back.  It was waiting in an unassuming, but aren’t I really great sort of way.

I took just a bit, making sure to get part of a woody branch.  It’s square stems breaking easily but brittle.

Once home, I clipped it up, freshening the ends to 45 degrees (though leaving a “heel” can sometimes improve rooting), removing excess leaves and cutting the larger remaining leaves in half.  I ended up with enough material for two starts.  They settled nicely into a mixture of vermiculite and perlite and a regular hydration routine, a good dousing with a not-so-special spray bottle.  The Lepechinia keeps company with Fuchsia thymifolia and Salvia brandegei.


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