Taking Plant Cuttings For A Summer Display
Taking cuttings in Autumn and Spring from your favourite decorative plants is the perfect way to re-stock your garden for free and prepare for an impressive summer floral display.
If you have a few spare, you can even share with your gardening chums. Read our guide for more top tips.
When to Take Your Plant Cuttings
Autumn and Spring are the perfect times to take cuttings from popular plants such as Fuchsia, Lavender, Hydrangea, and more.
These plants will be producing fresh, firm shoots which can be easily removed with a set of secateurs. They will also root successfully when placed in damp compost.
Take cuttings once the flowers have gone. If there are flowers on your cuttings, take them off to allow plants to focus their energy on growing new roots. Learn more about Dead Heading Flowers HERE.
What Cuttings to Take
By taking cuttings during Autumn or Spring, you’ll give them more time to be established and a stronger chance of surviving. Once the risk of frost is over in the following May or June your plants should be ready to plant out to their final growing place.
By this time, they’ll also be big enough to escape from being munched by snails and slugs.
Here’s a few of our favourites:
- Fuchsia – Grown for their attractive, pendent shaped flowers. Great for summer bedding schemes.
- Coleus – Known for their bright colours, Coleus plants are perfect for creating dramatic, colourful borders in pots and beds thanks to its colourful foliage.
- Salvias – Nectar rich flowers, perfect for attracting bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects to your garden or plot. Creates a beautiful floral display through autumn when most plants are preparing for dormancy.
- Verbena – Displays tightly packed clusters of lilac-purple flowers from June through to September.
- Lavender – Drought tolerant plant, produces delicately scented flowers and is perfect for sunny borders, containers, herb or gravel gardens.
- Pelargoniums – Known for its range of fragrant foliage from lemon and lavender to chocolate peppermint.
- Diascia – Displays blooms of masses of dainty flowers from mid-summer until the frosts arrive. Perfect for beds, borders and containers.
- Tender Perenials - Take cuttings from tender perennials such as Osteospermums and Penstemons and pinch off the flowers to trigger root growth as it can be tricky finding non-flowering shoots!
How to Take Successful Plant Cuttings
Before taking your cuttings, check your knife is sufficiently share to ensure a nice clean cut. Blunt knives or secateurs can leave tears, leaving cuttings vulnerable to rot.
Top Tip: Water the plants you want to take cuttings from the day before. This will hydrate them thoroughly, allowing you to take cuttings in the morning when they are full of water.
1) 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.)
2) Remove any flowers and lower leaves.
3) If rooting in compost, fill a 10cm pot with free-draining compost, level the compost out and gently firm it down.
4) Use a Dibber to make a hole in the compost and insert the cutting.
5) Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag, under a Cloche or place in a Heated Propagator with the lid on and a temperature set to between 18-24°C.
6) Leave a few inches between each cuttings for good ventilation and to prevent mould and fungal disease growth.
7) Place in a bright place but not in direct sunlight. Covering with a Horticultural Fleece will help to diffuse strong sunlight.
8) If using a Hydropod Cuttings Propagator, place your cutting into a sponge disc.
9) Fit the sponge disc into an optional mesh pot and place in cuttings tray.
If you’re using a Hydropod Cuttings Propagator, you can increase cuttings success rates and speed up cuttings propagation as it gets the moisture balance right for you, preventing damping-off and mould.
*Cuttings will take longer to develop roots in soil than a misting propagator. Make sure the soil is moist throughout this time, but take care not to over-water as rotting in plant cuttings is a common problem.
Caring For Your Cuttings
Temperature Control - Consistent temperatures help cuttings root faster. If using a Hydropod Cuttings Propagator, add a Reservoir Heater to ensure the reservoir doesn’t get too cold at night. Unless a specific temperature is required, 18°C will be sufficient.
Humidity Control – Use a Hygrometer to monitor humidity in your propagator. If you are using a Hydropod or Vitopod Propagator, use the large vents to control humidity and ventilation. The vents can also be used for hardening off as the cuttings become more rooted, allowing them to adapt to lower humidity before being potted on.
Perfect Watering – Cuttings lose moisture in the first few weeks due to having no roots. Mist occasionally with a Hand Mister or use a Misting Propagator to help retain valuable moisture.
Lighting – Prevent leggy or weak cuttings by providing cuttings with plenty of light. A greenhouse is an ideal location for your cuttings. If using a Hydropod, the lid has been moulded to fit 2x Sunblaster Propagation lights to provide additional lighting.
Rooting Times – Fuchsias, Petunias and other softwood cuttings are typically ready to pot on after 10-14 days in a Hydropod. However time can vary due to environmental factors. Semi-ripe and hardwood cuttings will take longer than softwood cuttings in a Hydropod, but still quicker than rooting in soil.
Potting On – Once your cuttings have enough roots then they can be potted on. Left too long and they can develop water roots and not transplant successfully.