Wes and Faye Miller [of Seminole Heights in Tampa] both have this condition. He calls it a disease, but says, “I enjoy it.” I have a serious case myself and am glad to have it.
The Miller property is not large, perhaps a quarter of an acre at most, and they probably have more kinds of plants than I have. Faye roots most of the cuttings and has even managed to root the Petra or queen’s wreath vine that I have not.
“I take stem ends, 4 to 6 inches long, the ones with green rather than woody stems,” she says. She dips them in rootone and sticks them in sterile potting mix. “I may only have 50% root, so I take a handful, maybe 10 or 15. I’ve been trying to root a white hibiscus for 3 years and finally got one to root.” Obviously I have not tried hard enough. We all agreed that rootone wasn’t necessary for easy rooting plants and Wes sticks most of his cuttings in pure compost. They all stay in the shade until they are rooted.
I have also discovered that some plants root better if most or even all of the leaves are removed. My bush sunflower and many cuttings of milkweed root better for me just as sticks. For the basics of rooting cuttings, see the column on my website on How to Take Cuttings.
We all agreed that Earth Boxes and Grow Boxes are a great way to grow many plants, especially the ones that won’t grow so well otherwise. They have 52 of these, many of which Wes makes himself for less than $10 each. He teaches a class on making what he calls Garden Boxes. These line the decks at the back of their garden that borders the Hillsborough river, most of them filled with attractive vegetables.
He also teaches classes on how to mount staghorn ferns, bromeliads, and such and classes on what he calls Guerilla Gardening, which includes frugality, surprises, and general garden success and excitement. His last class is on beginning bonsai. He gives talks to groups, so if you see his name, go. You will learn a great deal.
He also says, “If someone tells me I can’t do or grow something, I set out to prove them wrong.” He has some small Japanese maples growing.
All in all, plant addiction can give you great satisfaction, constant happy surprises, good food, flowers every day of your life, and many other blessings for less outlay of money or risk of trouble than any other kind. It is beneficial to both the people who have it and even to the society around them.
Now’s the time to… tell you to contact Wes Miller for classes, call 813-244-3893.
I will also admit that plant addition is not really the best way to make you garden look like a magazine cover. A group of plants of the same kind and color makes a better visual impact. But those of us with plant addictions don’t have room for many groups. That is okay. Our gardens are one place when we can create a little world of our own choosing. I chose one of almost every plant…except the thorny ones or those that take up more room than they return in flowers, fragrance, or food.