Rooting Cuttings; Late Summer Propagation
Now is an excellent time to propagate your favourite plants by rooting cuttings!
You may want to do this to have more of garden plants but often it is the frost tender varieties that are best over wintered as little plants. After all there is a limit to the space we all have on a windowsill!
So I’m thinking of Fuchsias, Pelargoniums, pinks, Penstemon, Salvia, Coleus and lots of other plants. Don’t bother with annuals; it is perennials that you need to focus on rooting cuttings now.
Cuttings taken now will produce roots quickly. And importantly, they will be well enough established to pot up into small pots before winter.
You will need-
- healthy plants to propagate
- a polythene bag with moisture inside
- a pair of secateurs
- a sharp knife or disposable scalpel
- hormone rooting powder or liquid [optional]
- clean pots or trays
- a thin polythene bag or sheet to cover the inserted cuttings or ideally a propagator
- a windowsill that does not get direct sunlight
- enthusiasm to give it a go!
Select healthy shoot tips -preferably without flowers- and do this early in the morning when the shoots are full of moisture. Keep them moist and shaded and don’t delay in getting them prepared for propagation! When you go out to take those cuttings, take a polybag with you and squirt a little water into it first so that there is plenty of moisture to keep your cuttings in tip-top condition. Aim for cuttings of about 10cms length.
Remove the lower leaves and cut the stem base neatly with a sharp knife. If you haven’t got a really sharp knife then one of those disposable scalpel-like knives that you can buy at hardware stores is excellent for this. For most plants you make the bottom cut just below where you have removed the lowest leaf. However, for some you can make that cut midway between leaf joints. This is especially true when rooting cuttings of Clematis and honeysuckle.
Dip the cut ends in fresh hormone rooting powder or liquid. This will encourage roots to form more rapidly but do keep any unused hormone in the fridge or buy new every year. Use pots or trays filled with moist half and half mix of perlite and potting compost. Cover all but Pelargoniums with a thin clear polythene bag. Place on your windowsill to root them.
When rooted -normally 6-8 weeks- lift, separate and pot individual into pots before onset of winter. Keep in a well-lit and frost free place until spring!
In winter you may wish to try your hand at propagating a few plants from hardwood cuttings and I’ve some tips on that in my blog here.
A few plants can be propagated by root cuttings and I’ve written about that here.
What plants have you successfully propagated by rooting cuttings?