About half a year ago, when I heard that the nursery at Ang Mo Kio had finally – FINALLY! – released their allspice plants for sale, I rushed down and bought two plants immediately, even though each cost $30. There came a sale of 30% the month following my purchases, but ah well. Done is done.

Notoriously hard to propagate, the allspice comes from the Greater Antilles, Southern Mexico and Central America. The unripe berries are plucked and used. But one would need a separate male and female plant to achieve cross pollination. That was the reason why I bought two plants in the first place – in the hopes that one was male, and the other female.

However, I have no idea when flowers would appear. I suspect only when the plants became huge trees. Not having the space to grow the plants that large, I’ve finally hit down hard on my fears and turned to marcotting this plant.

I’ve read and done a few marcotting, myself, but mostly on plants far less expensive (though no less hard to find in Singapore) than the allspice. Still, I had to gather my guts to do it.

I did two marcotting portions on each plant.

For the first plant, I merely did slanted cuts on a semi-woody stem, smeared rooting hormone in the cuts, and wrapped worm casting around them before sealing them up with cling wrap.

For the second one, and especially the second portion, I tore out the whole layer of outer bark on one portion, smeared rooting hormone up and down the wound, and also used worm casting on it (and on the other).

I decided not to use soil this time because, well…I have excess casting for one, and also I heard that worm casting somehow encourages rooting in plants.

It was a messy affair, as usual, since my hands become like feet whenever I have to handle marcotting processes. But the slightly paste-like texture of the casting helped, so that it didn’t crumble here and there.

I’ve had to strip a few leaves. So…maybe I’ll enjoy some cups of fragrant allspice tisanes today.

Now…let’s see how long roots take to form. I hope ants don’t make nests in them!

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