Cuttings Header

 

I love growing plants from cuttings and September is perfect timing for forming my plan and getting started.

At this time of year I take a cup of tea out with me and decide which plants I’m going to take cuttings from to grow new plants.

Growing new plants from cuttings is a brilliant way of increasing the number of your favourite plants without having to make a trip to the garden centre, provides insurance against plants not making it through the winter and is a lovely way to provide gifts for friends, family and neighbours.

At this time of year my planning head goes on. I take a look around the garden and notice where I might have bare patches, which plants I might want to replace with which, this can be because they didn’t do so well or because I simply enjoyed another one more! I also think about which of the plants I would like to gift to friends and family or to grow for a fundraiser. I think about which plants I really don’t want to lose. 

I prioritise taking cuttings from half-hardy perennials or tender shrubs as insurance against losing those to the winter. Next up I look at plants that are tired, old or woody so could do with replacing with younger stock.

I also sneak a look around the gardens of friends and family and if I like the look of one of their plants ask permission to take cuttings in return for me giving them some of the new plants I produce from the cuttings.

 

Cuttings

 

The cuttings we take in September to November are what is known as ‘semi-ripe cuttings’, which means the cutting is from this year’s growth. These cuttings are woody at the base and soft at the tip. The reason we take cuttings in autumn, is that hormone levels are high, so plants should root and grow well. The hard base makes the cuttings less likely to rot.

Flowers


 

How to take cuttings from September
What you need

  • • Clean, sharp knife or secateurs
  • • Clean plastic bag/food bag
  • • Dibber or pencil
  • • Pots and compost or a Hydropod cuttings propagator

Equipment

Equipment

Cuttings compost provides good drainage and does not contain fertilisers (a rich compost will encourage leggy cuttings that won't be able to support themselves when they are potted on).

Buy Secateurs Buy Dibber Buy Pots Buy Hydropod

 

 

Optional extras

  • • Revive plant tonic
  • • Root Magic planting-out Granules
  • • Plant labels

Extras

If you’re well organised spray the plants you want to take cuttings from with Revive. This completely natural blend of plant hormones and amino acids stimulates new growth from which you can take cuttings.

The day before taking cuttings, water the plant you want to take the cuttings. Take cuttings in the morning when they are full of water, don’t take cuttings in the heat of the day as they will wilt too quickly and may not recover.

Before you even take the cuttings prepare the propagator or compost and pots into which the cuttings will go because cuttings wilt very quickly. 

Buy Revive Buy Rootmagic Buy Plant Labels

 

Flowers


 

To take the cuttings
Choose healthy, pest free shoots that are not flowering for your cuttings.

Take Cutting

  • • Take the stem and bend it lightly. If the stem breaks with a snap, it is suitable to be taken as a cutting. If the stem bends but won’t break and breaks with no bend choose another. The best results are achieved when taking a cutting that has a small piece of older more mature wood on the base because this is less susceptible to rotting. The lax new growth at the top of the stem is too weak to root easily, so begin by cutting this off. If the base of the stem is firm and woody this too should be removed, as it will be very slow to root. The middle part of the stem, the "semi-ripe" part, is perfect for making cuttings.

  • • Use clean, sharp secateurs or a clean craft knife to take the cutting. The cuttings should be 5-10cm long. Cut straight and cleanly directly just below where the leaves are growing. Cut again about 3in up the stem, just above a leaf joint.

  • • After taking the cutting remove all but one or two pairs of leaves at the tip. If the remaining leaves are very large you can cut them in half to reduce the amount of water the cutting will lose through transpiration.

  • • Place the cuttings in a clean plastic bag to minimise water-loss and store in the shade while you take the rest of your cuttings.

Gardening Angel Pro Tip: Take several cuttings from each shrub to increase your chance of success. Label if you’re making cuttings of several varieties.

Flowers


 

Planting the cuttings

Pot

If using pots - fill a 10cm pot with free-draining compost, level the compost out and gently firm it down. For best results, use a seed/cuttings compost such as John Innes Seed and Cuttings Compost. This is traditional mixture of loam, peat and sand. Free draining, open texture with specially balanced nutrient level Ideal for maximum root growth of cuttings. Multipurpose Compost will hold on to too much water and could lead to your cuttings rotting. They can also contain too high nutrient levels, leading to bolting.

Use a dibber or pencil to make a hole in the compost for the cutting. Plant the cutting to about half its length, label the pot. If you have a heated propagator place the cuttings in the propagator with the temperature set to between 18-24°C.

Pots, Trays & Labels


If using a Hydropod Misting Propagator
 - Place the cutting in the foam discs in the Hydropod, fill the Hydropod with water and plug it in.

Hydropod

 

Place the pots of Hydropod cuttings propagator in a shady place in a greenhouse or cold-frame, or under a cloche.

If you don't have any of these, keep them in a cool and light part of the house, in a porch, or next to the window inside the shed. At this time of year the sun is still strong; keep out of direct sunlight.

If necessary, cover with shade netting or a sheet of newspaper.

Cuttings in pots lose moisture while having no roots with which to replenish it, so should be misted occasionally with a hand mister. A propagator or plastic bag over the pots, will help the plants retain moisture but be sure to open the lid or cut holes in the plastic bag to improve ventilation to prevent rotting.

If any leaves or cuttings do start to rot, remove them immediately in order to prevent the disease spreading.

The Hydropod cuttings propagator doesn’t need to be misted because it does this automatically.

Hydropod 

Flowers


 

Potting-On
Typically the cuttings in the Hydropod will root in 10–14 days and in pots in around 6–10 weeks.

Of course some plants take longer.

Once the cuttings have rooted harden them off and pot them individually into new pots.

Hydropod

  • • If you are propagating cuttings in soil, check for roots by gently tugging at the plants after several weeks. If they have rooted then there should be some resistance.

  • • If you are using the Hydropod Propagator you can see the roots growing because there is no soil so there is no need to pull on your plants.

When your cuttings have rooted pot into individual pots, 9cms is ideal, using a potting compost.

When the roots of the new plant have filled the new pot they're ready to plant out in the garden.

Flowers


 

Gardening Angel Pro Tips:

Angel Top Tip

John Innes No.1 is perfect. This compost has a carefully balanced nutrient content to suit most young plants and allow them to grow.

Its at this point I would add our Root Magic Granules. It contains Mychorrizae which attach themselves to the roots increasing rootmass by 700%!!! This helps the roots to access water and nutrients from much further away which helps the plant to get established quickly and be much more resistant to drought and poor soil condition. It also includes micro-organisms that form a barrier to root disease.

When potting on at any stage, ensure the compost has been kept in the same place as where your cuttings have been growing for 24 hours. Potting into compost that’s been left outdoors in the cold, can lead to transplant shock and have detrimental effects on your newly rooted cuttings.

Choose healthy pest/disease free shoots for your cuttings. Fungal Spores and Bacterial Pathogens can spread through a propagator very quickly, destroying all your hard work.

However, this can differ between plant species. Some can take longer.

John Innes No.1 is perfect. This compost has a carefully balanced nutrient content to suit most young plants and allow them to grow.

 

 

TOP TIP

When potting on at any stage, ensure the compost is warmed to the same temperature your cuttings have been growing. Potting directly in to compost that’s been left outdoors in the cold, can lead to transplant shock and have detrimental effects on your newly rooted cuttings.

Its at this point I would add our Root Magic Granules.

It contains Mychorrizae which attach themselves to the roots increasing rootmass by 700%!!! This helps the roots to access water and nutrients from much further away which helps the plant to get established quickly and be much more resistant to drought and poor soil condition.

It also includes micro-organisms that form a barrier to root disease.

 

 


RootMagic
 

 

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