Take cuttings from plants already growing for free plants. Herbs including rosemary are particularly good for this. Other top plants to take cuttings from include lavender, buxus, hydrangeas, fuchsias, hebes, miniature roses and succulents.
Growing your own plants from scratch is rewarding, it saves on money too. Cuttings are one of the easiest ways to grow new plants; the trick to it is understanding what the plant’s growth habit is like and where it likes to grow.
Depending on what you want to grow, cuttings may produce roots in a matter of weeks or it may take a number of months.
Commercial nurseries have specialised systems, glasshouses and staff trained to know exactly when and how to propagate plants. It may sound all very scientific, which it is in some cases, but it’s also very easy to achieve at home.
The best time of year to take cuttings is mid summer until the end of autumn.
Top 10 plants to take from cuttings:
- Buxus – box hedging
- Miniature Roses
Numerous shrubs and climbers can be grown from cuttings.
The best way to root cuttings is as follows:
- Use sharp secateurs to make a clean cut.
- Take cuttings at a node, that is where the leaf is on the stem of the plant, because this is where most of the plants natural hormones are concentrated.
- Depending upon the plant, make cuttings approx. 10-15cm long.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.
- Reduce leaves to about three or four and reduce the leaf area by approximately half.
- Place cuttings in a cutting mix, pumice or perlite, anything that is free draining.
- Dipping cuttings into a rooting hormone before planting will improve success, particularly for semi hardwood and hardwood cuttings.
- Seed raising mix can be used, however it should have some pumice added to it as it may be too moisture retentive for some cuttings.
- Water the cuttings well, cover the pot that the cuttings are in with a plastic bag or place in a shady spot out of direct sunlight and wait.
- Always choose healthy stems of the plant you want to grow, the best material is about 6 months old (semi hard wood) not too stiff and not to floppy. Aim to have all your cuttings the same size to ensure even growth and root development.
- Tall cuttings tend to fall over and ones that are too short don’t have enough substance to grow.
- When the roots develop varies on the plant. For soft wood shrubs like Fuchsias, hebes and lavender, roots should appear in a 3-4 weeks. These types of plants are ideal to grow in old takeaway coffee cups, by the time the cutting has roots on it the container is about to disintegrate and ready to plant out, literally recycling itself.
- If the material is suitable, two or three cuttings can be made from the same piece of stem. Once rooted, the cutting can be transplanted (or potted up) into a container, old plant pots are ideal for this.
- Be careful with the young roots when doing this, place the freshly potted up plant somewhere sheltered and ‘nurse’ it along until new leaves appear and roots show through the bottom of the pot, once this happens the new plant it ready for the garden.