Small plant cuttings with new shoots

New plants from old

Having a beautiful and vibrant garden doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Many plants grow easily from cuttings and you can get together with friends and neighbours to swap the best ones, so you all get a variety. It’s a great way to fill up your garden beds and all it will cost is a little time.

May 21, 2020
Small plant cuttings with new shoots

Types of cutting

Softwood cuttings
Softwood cuttings are taken from fresh, new growth, usually in spring or early summer. Includes viburnum, lavender and fuchsia.

Semi-ripe cuttings
These stems are tougher and more mature. Includes camelia and honeysuckle.

Hardwood cuttings
Taken from woody stems in late autumn or winter. Includes jasmine, hydrangea and shrub roses.

You'll need

  • A sharp knife or pruning shears/secateurs
  • Small containers for potting the cuttings
  • Potting mix
  • Rooting hormone

Step 1
Select healthy growth that’s 7-15cm (3-6 inches) long. Make a sharp cut, being careful not to squash the stem.

Step 2
Remove the lower leaves so you have a bare stem and remove any flowers. Dip the end of your stem in rooting hormone. This helps them to take root more quickly.

Step 3
Plant your cutting in moist potting mix. Keep it humid by wrapping it loosely in clear plastic.

Tips for successful cuttings

  • Early morning is usually the best time to take cuttings, as this is when plants usually have the most moisture.
  • Keep cuttings moist until you’ve potted them up and avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Many cuttings root faster if they are kept warm and humid, so misting them regularly can help them grow.
  • Be patient! It can take a month or two for cuttings to become established enough to be planted out. Not all cuttings will take root.
  • Some plants root so easily that you can start them in a jar of plain water. Try African violet, geranium, impatiens and philodendron.

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