Plant Propagation at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


Last weekend Branching Out visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to learn how the museum manages their greenhouse and floral collections. Youth participants toured the museums’s main landscape displays, the Italian themed courtyard and the recently redesigned exterior Monk’s garden by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.

Youth participants learned that the museum uses various techniques and practices to manage their plant collection, one of which was plant propagation by stem cuttings. Plant propagation creates an identical genetic clone of a desired plant and eliminates the cost of purchasing numerous plants. During a hands-on workshop activity JoAnn Robinson, Landscape Researcher at the museum, led youth participants through the steps to propagate citrosa geraniums and begonias.

Citrosa Geraniums


JoAnn identified first step in plant propagation is to locate the bud and leaf nodes. This will help you to determine where to make your cut. Nodes should be at the base of your cutting and remove any dead plant material or excess leaves from node.

Propagation Diagram

Next, dip the base of the cutting into the root hormone powder. Root hormone is used to stimulate root production.


Plant the cutting in a container with moist soil and holes on the bottom for drainage.




After planting, store the new cutting in a warm environment.

Youth participants were amazed by how easy this technique was and how they can do this for any plant they wish to duplicate!

4 responses to “Plant Propagation at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

  1. My plants are growing. I potted up the purple creeper but the scented geranium and Angel wings begonia are not well rooted yet. I think I over watered them. I removed them from their plastic bags.


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