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I know as a garden writer I am supposed to wax lyrical about the change of seasons, finding joy in the crisp air and falling leaves. But I have to confess, as someone who loves growing things, that to me the start of autumn only means one thing - the end of summer. The impending threat of frost does, however, have an upside - the chance of free houseplants. It's a way to make summer flowers last forever indoors, and here's how to do it.
Many of the most popular bedding plants, whose subtropical origins mean they have little to no defence against frost, also happen to make excellent houseplants.
Also, as varieties of bedding plants can come and go in a surprisingly short space of time, sometimes disappearing from catalogues with no notice from one year to the next, if you are particularly in love with a variety, this can be a sure-fire way of keeping it in your collection.
OK, I admit I usually have far too many plants to rehome my entire collection indoors, but extras always make really personal (and affordable) gifts for all my mates. I have experimented with dozens of species and find pretty much any of the more compact-sized bedding varieties work well indoors. Just avoid very large, light-hungry species such as dahlias and cannas, and you will be fine.
You can do this either the traditional way - dipping the cut end in rooting hormone, then planting it up in a pot of seed and cutting compost that is kept humid by sealing it in a plastic bag - or experiment by shoving the cuttings in little vases of water. This works a treat with all sorts of candidates, from impatiens to begonias. You will not only make plants for free but have a pretty windowsill display at the same time. A nifty way to get the joy of summer flowers well into the dark depths of winter. - Guardian News and Media