Submitted by: Mike Borlovan

Growing plants in containers is a lot of fun. It is not complicated and by following a few common sense rules, satisfaction is guaranteed. For a small starter plant, be it a shrub or any ornamental plant, a small container of 3 or 4 inch is sufficient, at first. Of course, until these little babies grow bigger, then you will need to step them up in a larger container, like 1 gallon size for example.

First you need the little plants, but how to get them? Well, you can start some of them from seeds, or rooted cuttings. Or you can purchase the little plants, called liners or plugs, from your local Garden Center, or you can root them yourself. It is a lot of fun in doing it.

It is not really that complicated, and it is not hard at all. Let’s assume that you need some shrubs for a foundation planting in front and on the sides of your house, something that does not grow too tall, and you will be able to control by trimming and pruning. Let’s start with a Compacta Holly, a nice evergreen that is easy to grow, and as they grow you can shape them any way you like. They are used also for topiary, and hedges, borders, group planting and in many other ways.

Now you are going to need a mature shrub as a source to make your cuttings. If you don’t have any already on your property, see if your neighbour or a friend might have some, and ask for permission to take a few cuttings. Another solution would be to buy just one Compacta Holly (or it could be any shrub for that matter), that is bushy enough, and that has some semi-tender new growth on it. The cuttings from these woody shrubs, should not be too mature nor too tender. Just cut bellow the portion that is brown turning to green upward. Cut them about 4 to 6 inches long.


Get some good quality peat-moss blend potting soil with micro-nutrients blended in it, and some cell packs. The 6 cell jumbo packs works good. Fill up the cells with the potting soil and wet it with a fine sprinkle of water. With a sharp knife (do not use scissors) cut the lower end of the cutting in a slanted cut, and trim the tips with a scissors this time, to encourage growth.

Now stick the cuttings in the soil, one in each cell, and press the soil around it. Once you put them all in, set the cells in a shady place, and with a hand held bottle spray mist the cuttings every now and then, to keep the leaves wet. Remember, these plants do not have roots yet, so they feed through the leaves. Make sure that the soil itself stays wet too, to encourage the cuttings to reach down for water, thus growing the roots.

Once you see some roots sticking out the holes on the bottom of the cell pack, it is a good sign that they are growing roots. Just wait a little while longer, until you get a root ball, before you transplant them in a 4 inch container. This should take about 6 to 8 weeks, if all goes well.

These Compacta Hollies on the left, (you will see the pictures in my blog)are planted in 4 inch containers, and they had their first ‘haircut’ already. These shrubs are pretty fast growing, and soon they’ll need to be stepped up in 1 or even 2 gallon size pots.

This rooting procedures from cuttings can be applied to almost any woody shrubs like Boxwood, Youpon, Helleri, Soft Touch, Azaleas, Ligustrum, Loropetalum, Pitosporum, and many others.

The Compacta Hollies can be planted in a straight line, staggered, as accent planting, group planting, hedges, etc. You just use your imagination, or get inspired from a specialty landscaping magazine. Just figure out how many you need for your own project, and root as many as you need.

In this picture (on my blog), you can see a mature Compacta Holly planted as a hedge, and on the left is a Loropetalum. This hedge is about 5 years old, but they were trimmed many times, to keep them low. Very easy to grow. You can have yours and be happy to watch them grow. Now sit on your bench, in the company of birds, butterflies and the little busy bees, sip your cup of coffee, in the tranquility of your little heaven and enjoy!

In this picture above are some Youpon shrubs in the front, and some Compactas behind them, that can be shaped round, oval, or any shape you want. All these shrubs are low maintenance, unlike other blooming perennials.

I really do appreciate you visiting my blog! Leaving a comment and following me in this blog, is highly appreciated!

Until next time, happy Gardening! And get your hands dirty, it’s good for you!

Mike Borlovan

About the Author: The Author of these gardening related articles is dedicated to help anyone interested to learn of the experience of many years in the Nursery and Landscaping field. As long as one is benefiting in any way from this free service and contribution, the Author is fully satisfied. Visit my Blog:

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