Top 5 Plant Cuttings Essentials

There’s nothing more rewarding than growing more of your favourite decorative plants from cuttings. Read our Gardening Angel guide and make sure you’ve got the perfect tools to take and grow strong, healthy cuttings.

1. Choose The Right Propagator

A heated propagator is perfect for creating the perfect environment for cuttings, resulting in improved cuttings success rates.

If you’re using a Vitopod Propagator or Hydropod Cuttings Propagator the generously sized vented lid will provide excellent humidity control and retains warmth and moisture to prevent drying out. You’ll also be able to adjust the vents to lower humidity as the cuttings grow.

Hydropod cuttings propagator

Hydropod Cuttings Propagator Perfect For: Softwood, Semi-Ripe and Hardwood Cuttings.
The Hydropod constantly mists the cuttings so that they never dry out and nor do they get too wet and start to rot.

The constant spray of water around the base of the plants has the added advantage of encouraging the roots to ‘grow-out’ quickly to access the water. Thanks to the Hydropods 7 day reservoir, you can go away on holiday and not worry about your cuttings.

Vitopod Heated Propagator Perfect For: Part-Leaf, Whole Leaf, Root and Tender Perennial cuttings.
The Vitopod Propagators digital controller includes an accurate temperature sensor which triggers the supply of heat depending on the sensor reading. This maintains the right temperature without wasting electricity.

Heat is distributed evenly throughout the propagators base, so there are no hot or cold spots. Cuttings will propagate evenly with higher success rates.

2. Get Your Lighting Right

Place your cuttings in a bright place, but not in direct sunlight (a greenhouse is a perfect location.) Protect your cuttings from strong sunlight with Horticultural Fleece, which will help to diffuse strong sunlight.

Lack of sufficient lighting can result in leggy or weak cuttings growth. When cuttings don’t have enough access to light, they tend to stretch to reach the sunlight and grow tall very quickly. This comes at a cost of width, so the cuttings will tend to lean or fall over.

Sunblaster Propagation Lights help to replicate natural daylight and are housed in a nanotech enhanced reflector that reflects 99.9% of previously lost light. This increases lumen availability by 300% and diffuses light deep into the leaves.

propagation lights

If using with a Hydropod or Vitopod Propagator, these cost-efficient lights can be switched on and off independently of the propagator. We recommend you use the lights to extend the daylight hours to 12 hours. So depending on the sunrise and sunset times in your location, you can adapt the length of time the lights are on for.

3. Use A Sharp Clean Blade

Snip shoots with clean, sharp Secateurs or a Gardeners Knife to prevent vulnerability to disease and ensure a nice clean cut.

gardeners pocket knife

Blunt knives or secateurs can leave tears, leaving cuttings vulnerable to rot. Use a Sharpening Tool to give your cutting tools a new lease of life, or treat yourself to pair of Secateurs.

Cut at a 45° angle with a sharp knife or scalpel just below a leaf node. (This is where the plant’s hormones will produce new roots.)

Remove all but one or two pairs of leaves at the tip. This will reduce the amount of water lost through transpiration.

4. Give Your Plants A Health Boost

This Health Boosting Tonic encourages the original (mother) plant to produce shoots that you can take as cuttings. This clever tonic will even revive plants suffering from drought, cold, pests, over watering, over-neglect and general neglect!

health boosting tonic

Simply spray your chosen plants with our Health Boosting Tonic, then 2 weeks later take cuttings from the plant and place them into your Hydropod Propagator. When the roots are about 3 inches long, pot the plants on as you usually would.

5. Plant Pots & Trays

If rooting in compost, fill a Small Plant Pot or Tray with free draining compost, level the compost out and gently firm it down.

cuttings from a Hydropod Cuttings Propagator

Then use a Dibber to make a hole in the compost and insert the cutting.

As an alternative to soil, you can place your cuttings into Rockwool Propagation Cubes or Jiffy Propagation Pellets.

Once your cuttings have enough roots then they can be potted on to a larger pot. Left too long and they can develop water roots and not transplant successfully. (Read our guide on potting up cuttings HERE.)

Top Tips for Preparing Plant Cuttings

- The day before: Water the plants you intend to propagator to hydrate it thoroughly. Then take cuttings in the morning when they are full of water.
- How to Choose: Pick healthy, pest free and non-flowering shoots.
- Testing Your Cutting: Take the stem and bend slightly. If the stem breaks with a snapping sound, it is in the softwood stage and ready for harvesting as a cutting. If it is still too green, it will bend but not break. And if the stem is moving to the woody stage, it won’t bend.
- Retaining Moisture: Place the cuttings in a clean plastic bag to minimise water-loss.