The fall season is both the best time for planting, and an excellent time for gardeners to share plants.
Plant and cutting exchanges, which are popular in the Monterey Bay area, invite gardeners to bring plants or cuttings from their garden to swap for plants or cuttings offered by another gardener.
That seems like a fair trade, but because plants vary greatly in size, condition and desirability, a really balanced exchange would be difficult to achieve.
Still, these exchanges often succeed without even requiring a contribution. They work because plants propagate naturally on their own: the gardener does not incur a significant cost, and still reaps the satisfaction of giving something of value to another gardener.
Propagating plants for sharing require a significant investment of time: growing plants from seeds or cuttings and then giving them away could amount to a generous gift of the gardener’s time. However, opportunities exist for sharing plants with little effort.
For example, if your daffodils or irises need dividing, you could very well end up with a surplus of bulbs or rhizomes that you could share.
Another example: plants might self-propagate in your garden to the point that you have more than you want, and would prefer to reclaim the space for other plants.
In my garden, Pig’s Ear (Cotyledon orbiculata) and Japanese Anemone (Anemone hupehensis) had grown too large. With the help of a friend, we uprooted dozens of each plant for others to propagate.
Succulent Cotyledons can be propagated most easily from tip cuttings.
Japanese Anemones are best propagated from root cuttings taken in the late fall or early winter. We lifted them rather early, but we saw vigorous new white shoots on the roots, and felt that they would re-root quickly in a new environment. This plant produces beautiful pink or white blossoms, and grows so readily that it’s almost invasive.
Plant society sales offer another sharing opportunity. While these are not free exchanges, they typically offer plants at below-market prices. And the gardeners who grow these plants gain satisfaction from sharing both their plants and their enthusiasms.
Watch for opportunities to share plants with your friends and neighbors. You will both grow from the experience.
The Web has very helpful information resources for plant propagation.
Wikipedia – Plant Propagation (often my first stop)
North Carolina State University
YouTube also offers several short video recordings (often simply produced) on aspects of plant propagation.