Published: 10 December 2012
How To: Propagation By Cuttings
Learn some useful tips to help you make successful cuttings of your favourite plants and watch a video filmed here at Blackwood showing the process step by step.

Always use a sharp, clean blade
Propagation by cuttings can be carried out at many times of the year.  Provided some key rules are observed it is possible to get cuttings to root and grow on into new plants at different times throughout the year. To me this is an incredibly satisfying part of horticulture; over the years I have taken hundreds of thousands of cuttings for commercial production and sales but I still get a buzz when I knock out a pot or tray of newly rooted cuttings.
 
It does not matter how many cuttings are involved, whether it is a few on a windowsill or many in a glasshouse, the important thing is to have a go. 
 
This video which we filmed here at Blackwood will help you get great results with this method of plant propagation. 
 

 

Important Tips

Always select quality cuttings material from good healthy plants.

Handle the material carefully and avoid extreme weather conditions when it is too hot or cold. At these times the plants will be under stress and that reduces the chance of rooting.

When gathering material, place it in a plastic bag to stop it drying out before it is prepared - keep it in the cool whenever possible.

Try to keep the work area clean and tidy to reduce the risk of contamination and pests or diseases infecting the cuttings or compost. For the same reasons use clean containers and fresh compost too.

Always use sharp blades to prepare cutting material, a clean cut reduces tissue damage and encourage better rooting compared with ragged cuts (think of a surgeon using a new scalpel blade compared to using an old one during an operation!).


A good quality rooting hormone or powder will give your cuttings a much higher change of success


Watering

When you have finished preparing and inserting the cuttings, water them as soon as possible to stop them drying out. Make sure that you do not allow the compost to become waterlogged or dried out as both of these conditions severely reduce the chance of rooting.

 
Once the cuttings are inserted into the compost, place them on a bench, or on the ground out of direct sun, droughts and frost. Keep an eye on them to make sure conditions are good and remove any foliage that becomes infected or dies; this will reduce the risk of grey mould infecting the remaining cuttings.
 

It may take a while...

Be patient, some cutting taken in the autumn can take several months to root. The first signs of growth will be new buds coming from the stems of the cuttings. Don’t be tempted to keep taking the cutting out to see if they have rooted, each time this occurs damage to the new, microscopic cell growth will impede rooting.

Taking Care

Once new root growth is seen then the new plants can be gently lifted from the compost for potting up into individual pots to grow on. Always use fresh compost, such as a multi-purpose to pot into, these young plants need all the care they can get.  It is worth considering that these new roots are extremely delicate and can be damaged very easily so handle with care at all times. 
 
When you see your newly rooted cuttings you will have observed the fantastic natural processes involved when plant cells at the base of the cutting change their habit for growing upwards as part of the parent plant to changing their function to produce roots growing downwards.
To me it is another amazing natural process we can see if we have a go at taking some cuttings.  
Reported by Chris Allen  
   
 

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