Plant Propagation

Plants can be grown from plants found already in your garden. Plant Propagation can be easy to do if you follow some basic steps and is a fantastic way to increase the plants in your garden, especially those that may be rare and expensive to purchase from your local nursery. Good propagation is about trial and error. Try different methods and record what works.

by Rob Thomson

Plant Propagation

There are some basic steps that can be followed in attempting to grow plants from cuttings.

1). Choose the plant you wish to attempt to grow cuttings from. Refer to any good gardening guide on whether or not the plant you have chosen can be grown from a cutting. Don’t be afraid to try anyway.

2). When taking cuttings always ensure you use sharp secateurs. Ensure that the piece of plant material is relatively new but mature in its growth. Usually 1 – 2 year old wood is preferable.

3). Cut approximately 15 – 30 cm of plant material and ensure the cut is made at approximately 30 degrees leaving a point on the end.

4). Remove up to 2/3 of leaves from the lower part of cutting. Ensure all flower buds are removed. If possible cut the plant 1 – 2cm below a knot in stem. You have a better chance of striking a cutting using this method as roots generally grow from around or underneath a knot.

5). By treating the cutting you give yourself the best chance of success. Place your cutting in a weak solution of water and seaweed liquid fertilizer for approximately 3 – 4 hours. Once completed and just prior to planting dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone. Rooting hormone can be found at all good garden centres.

6). Potting media can be of varying types. To start the cutting you can use sand, soil, peat moss, or even water. Make a hole in media using pen etc. and place the cutting in soil to a depth of around 5cm. Keep cuttings out of direct sunlight.

If using soil, please ensure you use a soil rich in organic matter with a PH around 6.0. This can be achieved by purchasing good potting mix from your local garden centre. Space cuttings as far apart from each other as they are long.

Some plant cuttings even strike better in water. Water (mixed sparingly with liquid fertilizer) can work well in producing roots of cuttings. It also allows you to see the process happening before your eyes.

7). Water well and ensure the cutting is kept moist. A mister can be used to apply water. Wilting may occur during first few days after preparing the cutting. Covering cuttings with a plastic bag or an empty plastic bottle can help create an environment which aids in cuttings taking. Remember cuttings success rates can be between 0-90%.

8). To test for root growth in soil give the cutting a gentle pull. If there is some resistance it means that roots may have begun to grow. You must be careful not to damage roots when testing as this could kill the cutting. I would suggest if 50 percent of cuttings show resistance in the pot tray you have prepared them in then they are ready to be planted individually. Gently break open the pot loosening the soil around cuttings and have several pots ready to plant individual cuttings into. This is recommended as cuttings will grow stronger prior to planting in the garden.

9). Once plant has grown in its own pot prepare a spot in the garden and transfer it there. It is always a good idea to place a stake at planting to support the plant.


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