Making new plants from cuttings

Garden Life

Tips from Sarah the Gardener

Making new plants from existing plants is an affordable way to extend the garden. Summer and autumn are the perfect times of the year to take semi-hardwood cuttings from shrubs and bushes such as Griselinia, Hebes, Box,and Fuschia. This should be done where the soft new stems of the season have begun to mature into hard wood. It may seem like a daunting process but is not difficult at all.

Here are some easy steps to follow:

• Using clean, sharp secateurs, cut off the top 10-15 cm of a branch, just at the point where the wood is turning from green to brown. Make the cut just below a leave node or joint on an angle. If you can’t tend to your cuttings straight away, pop them into a moist plastic bag and keep them cool.

• Remove all of the leaves from the stem, except a few at the top. If the leaves are large, cut them in half to reduce moisture loss. It is best to avoid taking cuttings from branches ending in a flower.

• Dipping the tip of the cutting into rooting hormone gel can help the roots to form quickly.

• Cuttings need a moisture retentive free-draining mix and a 2:1 mix of sand and peat moss is ideal. A good quality seed raising mix will also work well.

• Poke holes into the soil and gently add the cuttings, taking care not to damage them, and firm them in.

• Cover them with a plastic bag or a cloche to create a moist and humid environment. Don’t let the cuttings dry out.

• It can take time for the cuttings to take, but you should begin to see new leaf growth and if tugged very gently you will feel resistance.

• Once you see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, it is time to pot on into a good quality potting mix so it can grow on to be a strong and healthy new plant.