How to take a Cutting - Propagating Plants

Take cuttings of shrubs for cost-efficient growing

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Propagating from shrubs in your garden is a way to share hard-to-find plants with friends and neighbours, and to keep the cost of planting down.
Many shrubs are propagated in autumn from semi-hardwood cuttings, where the stem shows changing colour from green to brown and has mature-sized leaves.
Some plants are protected by Plant Breeders Rights (PBR), making it illegal to propagate and sell them yourself. Many of the newly released cultivars in nurseries and garden centres, such as Lavender Marshwood, are protected.
To take cuttings you’ll need sharp secateurs, a plastic bag, rooting gel such as Clonex, propagating mix, a small stick and some small pots for planting.

STEP 1. Prepare to take cuttings

Water the plant in the evening. The next morning, cut 200mm-long stems of the healthiest shoots. Put these into the bag then fi ll the pots with propagating mix.

STEP 2. Trim the cuttings

Cut the stems again where they bend but aren’t too soft, making the cuts under a node, the point on the stem from where the leaves grow.

STEP 3. Scrape and strip stems

Lightly scrape the stems and trim the soft growth from the tops, making the cuttings about 100mm long, leaving at least two nodes. Keep a pair of leaves and strip the rest.

STEP 4. Pot the cuttings

Using the small stick, make a 40mm-deep hole in the potting mix. Dip the base of the cutting in rooting gel and position it in the hole. Using the stick, fi rmly press the mix against the cutting.

STEP 5. Cover and position pots

Water then cut the bases from plastic drink bottles and cover each cutting to conserve moisture. Position the pots in shade and water every day.
TIP: After six weeks tug the cuttings gently. If they feel fi rm, they’re ready to repot with a quality mix and slow-release fertiliser.


Propagating Plants
These varieties are easy to grow from semi-hardwood cuttings:
■ abelia
■ berberis ■ bottlebrush
■ box ■ camellia
■ Chinese lantern ■ correa
■ deutzia ■ escallonia
■ grevillea ■ hebe
■ lavender ■ lilly pilly
■ mint bush ■ photinia
■ pittosporum ■ plumbago
■ rosemary ■ tea tree
■ viburnum ■ weigela


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