how to take plant cuttings

How to take plant cuttingsThis step-by-step guide will show you how to take plant cuttings...

Early to mid-September is a good time to take plant cuttings. Most tender perennials are still going at full tilt and should root quickly. You'll have a decent rooted cutting ready to be potted on within a month. A few can also be grown from seed. Gaura, Verbena rigida, Cuphea viscosissima and heliotrope can all be sown in spring for flowering the same year.

  1. Using a very sharp knife – a razor blade, not a kitchen knife – take as many small plant cuttings as you can, 2½-3in is ideal.
  2. Fill small pots with compost mixed with about one-third grit. Water.
  3. Insert your plant cuttings, well spaced, around the edge of the pots and cover in a plastic bag supported on small canes to enclose the moisture. Pelargoniums are the exception of the tender perennials and don't need covering, but most things benefit from enclosure.
  4. If you have one, put them in a propagator with a bit of basal heat.
  5. Cuttings should root with two-three weeks. You'll know they have by new growth at their tips. Turn over the pot and check for new white roots. Take them out of the propagator and, if before October, pot them on.
  6. If already in October, don't pot them on, but feed them. Keep them cold and dry in winter and pot them on in spring so they grow off well.
  7. Plant in the garden in April or May.