About garden pests and propagation
I don’t have much experience with gardening, but I became more interested in propagating some flowers and bush plants.
From our little experience with plants, we discovered that some of them have a better chance of surviving than others.
We live in Western Sydney and we found that is pretty challenging to establish a garden. There are many pests that attach plants. The most obvious ones I found around the yard are snails and slugs. They become active during the night and they have a special preference for flowers. The pot below is filled with snails that I collected during one evening.
Among the plants from our garden that snails and slugs enjoy are: marigold and echeveria glauca.
I found the most efficient defense is physically collecting and disposing of them. Another good method (which I have yet to try) is surrounding the area (or the pots) with a copper foil. Snails and slugs receive a tiny electrical shock which they dislike and therefore they avoid to touch the copper foil. For those who find the copper foil too expensive, sticky aluminium foil can probably also be used. I will have to make some experiments to see if snails really avoid it. In case the electric potential is not large enough, a rail of two foils insulated could be placed and a 1.5V battery connected to it.
Many stores also sell snail and slug pellets and some of the products are advertised as being disliked by the birds. Unfortunately other insects are feeding on them too.
One of the most difficult plants I propagated was bougainvillea. Some of the reasons I had a very large failure rate was due to the fact I did not realize that it is OK if plants are loosing all their leaves. I found it very important that the cuttings have to be placed in sterile medium and covered with a plastic bag, or placed into a large plastic container. About the cuttings, apparently the thicker ones have better chance to survive. Next time I will try to propagate them, I will use perlite or vermiculite as a propagating medium. I was advised that bougainvillea (as well as other hard to propagate plants) need warmth at the base of the pot. A heating pad can be purchased from ebay from about $10 (freight included) and as long as the temperature does not go above 28°C, it should work nicely.
Ideally a setup including a thermostat and a hygrometer controlling a fan should maintain ideal conditions. Also, the best time for propagation would be in the spring.