Types of stem cuttings
- Softwood cuttings
Grow from softwood cuttings
A softwood cutting is a shoot terminal with the growing tip intact. They are mostly taken very early in the season before there is any sign of hardening in the new shoot. They can take about 4 - 8 weeks to root and herbaceous plants (those plants that die down in winter) are usually best propagated by taking 8 - 10cm softwood cuttings in Spring. They include: Chrysanthemum, Fuschia, Dahlia, Hydrangea, Impatiens, Pelargonium and geranium. However, in this how-to guide, we took softwood cuttings from lavender which is not a herbaceous plant.
- Semi-hardwood cuttings
- Hardwood cuttings
Grow from hardwood cuttings
Hardwood cuttings are taken from deciduous trees and plants (ones that lose their leaves in winter) when they are dormant between April and October. Hardwood cuttings are taken from well-ripened wood, and growth is made directly from buds that are dormant when the cutting is taken - the buds are usually visible. Unripened cuttings of this type will not propagate successfully and the best cuttings are made from the middle wood of the long shoot. Cuttings can take anything from 5 - 12 months or longer to take root and shoot be planted out in late autumn or winter.
Tips for taking cuttings
- When selecting material to propagate ensure you take a stem that is healthy and disease-free.
- Cuttings are best taken in the morning so as to prevent wilting.
- Use sharp, clean tools when taking cuttings to ensure you eliminate any chances of disease transmission.
- Select a shoot that is non-flowering as it will root more easily.
- Although some plants root better than others, investing in a rooting hormone powder can speed up the process and increase the chances of success.
- It's important to use soil and containers that drain well. Waterlogged soils can lead to rotting and fungal infections on the cutting's stem and roots.
- When propagating by cuttings, larger leaves can be cut back in half to reduce water loss by transpiration.
- Ensure the soil stays moist throughout the rooting stage and keep your cuttings in a sheltered spot, out of direct sunlight and harsh winds.