A Cuttings Propagation FAQ - Everything You Need To Know About Growing Cuttings
Ever wanted to know how to grow a plant from a cutting? Here are a couple of FAQs about cuttings propagation using the Hydropod, and some other details about growing plants from cuttings.
Our Gardening Angels know their stuff when it comes to growing – that’s why we developed the Hydropod – we knew it would provide an incredible solution to easily growing healthy cuttings. It’s no wonder BBC Gardeners World, Kitchen Garden magazine and Grow Your Own magazine have all sung its praises!
First thing’s first, what is cuttings propagation?
There are several types of plant propagation methods, including growing from seed and division, however, we will be examining how to propagate from cuttings.
Cuttings propagation is the process of growing a plant from a stem or root that has been cut from another plant. It’s basically an easy way of growing free new plants from old plants, meaning you can restock your garden for free!
What is a cutting?
Glad you asked! A cutting is just a section of a plant that is capable of growing into a new plant – it could be a stem, leaf or root.
How do you take cuttings from plants?
Taking cuttings is easy – make sure your plants are healthy and watered before taking cuttings, then choose some healthy, pest-free & non-flowering shoots. Snip off the shoots for your cuttings cleanly with sharp secateurs or a craft knife.
For more details and to see a video of how to prepare cuttings for the Hydropod, check out our guide to taking cuttings.
When should you take cuttings?
The best time to take cuttings from plants can depend on the type of plant. Spring is a great time to take cuttings from shrubs such as Hydrangeas, Fuchsia and ornamental bedding plants such as Pansies and Busy Lizzies. Taking cuttings from March to April means your propagated cuttings should be ready to plant up in May.
Early spring to early summer is best for taking soft herb cuttings, for example, Lavender, Mint, Rosemary, Basil and Lemon Balm. Between March and July you can also take hardwood cuttings of berry plants such as gooseberries and blackberries.
That reminds me, what types of plants can I grow from cuttings?
Cuttings propagation works well with a large variety of plants. Propagating from cutting generally doesn’t work on bulb plants like garlic or chives, and grasses or annuals. Those are best propagated by division or seed.
However, some examples of plants you could grow from cuttings very well in the Hydropod include herbs such as:
Some of our Gardening Angels favourite flowers to grow in the cutting propagator include
What’s wrong with just growing cuttings in water? Why do I need a cuttings propagator?
Well, some of the problems people most commonly face when growing from cuttings can include not enough light, the wrong type of compost and watering incorrectly. These all result in your cuttings being less than healthy, with a greatly increased risk of damping off, drying out and fungal infections. A cuttings propagator helps keep your cutting healthy, to get them off to a much better start.
How does the Hydropod Cuttings Propagator work?
The Hydropod works by misting the plants so that they have constant access to water and oxygen. This means that the mist creates an environment with the perfect balance of water and oxygen so the roots don’t get dry out and nor do they succumb to rot. There’s also no soil in a Hydropod so there’s no risk from soil-borne pathogens - the roots grow faster and stronger because they have access to everything they need.
What Temperature Should My Propagator Be Set To?
The correct consistent temperature can help cuttings to root quicker. Unless the species of plant you are rooting specifically requires high temperatures, 18°C will be sufficient. You can also add an optional heater to our Hydropod Cuttings Propagator to ensure the reservoir doesn’t get too cold at night.
Do I need to do anything special to get my cuttings ready for a Hydropod?
Not really, just prepare cuttings carefully as we discussed before. Then slide the cutting into the Hydropod’s sponge disc using the slit to avoid damaging the cutting. At least 2cm of the stem should show below the sponge.
Then you just place the sponge disc on top of the lip of the cuttings tray and pop the propagator lid in place. Switch the propagator on and let it do its magic!
Do I need to use nutrients in the Hydropod?
No, our Gardening Angels have had great success simply using tap water. There’s no need to use rooting hormone in the propagator, as it will be washed off by the misting.
If you want to get your cuttings off to an even better start though, you could use our Aztec Gold organic plant treatments…..
The Revive plant tonic spray is a 100% all-natural booster containing humic and fulvic acids which stimulate the growth of new shoots. Spray it on to the plants you want to take cuttings from 7 days before taking cuttings and you’ll have lots of new shoots to use as cuttings.
Why not try our Root Magic planting out granules? They contain Mychorrizae which extends root zones by 700x. This helps the roots to access water and nutrients from much further away which helps the plant to get established quickly and be more resistant to drought.
How long does it take for a cutting to root?
There is no set time that it takes for a cutting to root, it differs between plants. Softwood cuttings and plants like Fuchsias and Petunias cuttings are usually ready to pot on after 10-14 days in a Hydropod, but this time can vary significantly due to environmental factors.
The Hydropod is also suitable for semi-ripe and hardwood cuttings propagation. These will take longer than softwood cuttings but it’s quicker than rooting them in soil.
When will my cutting be ready to pot on? How long should the cuttings roots be?
Generally, you should wait for roots to be around 1-2 inches long – as soon as your cuttings have got enough roots then they should be potted on. If you leave them too long they can develop water roots and won’t transplant successfully.
If you have any questions about cuttings propagation that we haven’t answered here, get in touch with our Gardening Angels by email here.