It is easy for gardeners to spend a fortune on buying plants. The patient gardener can save money by propagating plants from cuttings.
Garden Tools and Equipment for Taking Cuttings for the Garden
- A good sharp pair of garden cutters.
- Small planter pots or seed trays.
- Potting mix. General potting mix or a seed raising mix will do although ordinary garden soil will do if it is fine and friable.
- Hand trowel (not necessary)
- Garden gloves.
- Face mask (optional) When handling potting mixes it is advisable to wear a mask to avoid air bourne bacteria that can give legionnaire’s disease.
- Water Source
- Watering can, spray bottle or garden hose with a light shower nozzle.
- Hormone rooting compound (optional)
Garden Plants Most Suitable to Propagate
Here is a list of the easiest plants to propagate by taking cuttings.
- Cacti and succulents
- Impatiens (busy lizzie)
Taking Cuttings From Plants
- Choose a plant that is healthy and free of disease to take cuttings from.Take cuttings from a plant as near to the time that they can be put in soil as possible ( 24 hours is the maximum) Put cuttings in water if not able to plant quickly.
- Choose a branch with older growth on it, not the young tip growth.
- Cut about 1cm below a leaf node at a 45 degree angle, to remove the branch
- Remember which is the bottom end of the branch that will be placed in the soil.
- Trim the top by allowing at least 2 leaf nodes and cutting at an angle about 1cm above a leaf node.
- Remove leaves as the cutting will be putting all of its energy into making roots initially. Leaves will also allow for moisture loss which is not wanted at this stage. If wished one or two small leaves can be left on the cutting.
Putting the Cuttings into Soil to Propagate
- Fill a small pot with the potting mix
- Some people like to use a hormone rooting mix but this is not necessary. If using this mix, place the end of the cutting in water then put it in the hormone powder and gently tap off the excess powder. Only a small amount should be used.
- Push a stick into the soil to make a hole
- Place the cutting into this hole and gently push soil back around the plant
- Water with a gentle spray. A spray bottle is good for this.
Care of Cuttings for the Garden
- Cuttings should be kept out of direct sunlight in a warm place. It is easiest to remember them when they are kept where they will be seen often. A kitchen window may suit if not too sunny.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy or the cuttings will rot.
How the Gardener Can Tell When Cuttings Have Taken Root
- The time it takes to form roots will vary depending on the plant and the time of the year. Many ancient cultures plant by the moon and will not take cuttings when the moon is not in the right phase. There is a time when it is best for root growth.
- Study the plant for signs of growth. Look for new shoots or new leaves.
- Look for roots growing through the bottom of the pot.
- Gently grip the base of the cutting and pull very lightly. If there is a resistance then roots will be growing.
The gardener who takes a cutting from a healthy plant, pots it up within 24 hours and keeps it moist and away from strong sunlight will be rewarded with new plants for the garden.