Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cloning Soapworts

Soapworts (Saponaria) cuttings

On August 22, 2010, my last day of the summer herb class, I took a couple stalks of soapworts home. Master Ken had shown us how to make all natural herbal shampoo with soapworts. All you have to do is get a bunch of soapworts, put them in a pot, add just enough water to cover them and cook until the water turns into a soapy liquid. Squeez the cooked soapworts as much as possible to get all the liquid out and save the liquid in a bottle. That is, my friend, the most natural shampoo you can get. According to Wikipedia, "The crushed leaves or roots of S. officinalis have been used as a soap since the Renaissance. Museum conservators still use the soap made from its leaves and roots for cleaning delicate fabrics and it also makes a fine shampoo."

Normally I would spend a few dollars on drug store shampoo like most people, but my best friend recently asked me about an all natural shampoo & bodywash by California Baby. This stuff is expensive! It's for sale in a 17.5 oz. bottle at $20. That's not including shipping. I am not sure just how natural it is. On its website, it states the cleansing agent is 100% Decyl polyglucose. Decyl polyglucose is a surface-active agent, and is used in soaps, cleansers and cleaning products. It's made of sugar (glucose) extracted from corn starch, and fatty alcohols called decanol, which comes from coconuts. That's pretty good; however, I can make my own at the cost of pennies.

I made some cuttings from the 2 stalks.  I cut each stalk into 4 pieces, dipped the ends in rooting hormone and then stuck them in this tray:

For the last 3 weeks, I misted the cuttings with the water bottle everyday since I don't have a sprinkler system. I am still quite new at cloning, but I was told that soapworts are easy to root and grow, so I remained hopeful. Three weeks later, I can see new leaves growing on two of them (see top picture).  I decided it's time to move them to bigger pots so they can continue to grow more roots.

All the cuttings have developed roots

I carefully removed all the cuttings out of the tray and discovered they all have developed roots! I divided them into two pots so they can further develop before I plant them in the ground.

Soapworts in pots

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