A rootstock is the root system of a common or hardy plant that will accept a graft of a less resilient variety. By grafting the stronger root a more fragile plant will gain strength. Often used on roses (particularly standard forms) and fruit trees, grafting with rootstocks allows us to grow a wider range of desirable plants. Sometimes when a grafted plant dies, it will sprout anew from the stronger root, but don’t be surprised when the resulting plant is nothing like what you expect. The new growth is only that of the original, less desirable variety of the rootstock.
‘Cultivar’ is a term often used to describe plants. It means that the variety of plant has been either selected or created by human cultivation. The word comes from a combination of cultivate and variety. A cultivar is maintained by intentional propagation. Many of the flowers and vegetables offered for sale are cultivars as they have been bred for better looks, performance and growth habits.
Deadheading or dead-heading is the process of clipping off blossoms after they have finished flowering and before they set seed. After flowering, the base of the flower will swell to form seeds, draining the plant of much of its energy. Removing faded blooms will encourage the plant to flower more in order to try to set seed again. Deadheading is particularly useful with short-lived annuals since it will encourage them to bloom as much as possible during their short lives.
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