This informative article is contributed by our guest contributor Angela Harpert from sendflowers.org.
Taking cuttings is the most cost efficient way of breeding plants and flowers, a plant grown from a cutting is basically an exact replica of the plant it came from. With a bit of knowledge and a lot of patience, you can grow some beautiful plants from cuttings that you have taken.
If this is the first time you are going to attempt to take a cutting and get it to root and grow, then try to keep it simple and keep to one of the easier plants to grow like Camellia, Gardenia, Willow, Rose, etc.
The best time to take a cutting from a plant is during the Summer, in the morning when the plants are at their freshest. Use shears or a sharp knife to take your cutting and select a healthy looking plant. Your cutting should be about 10-20cm long and should be cut at an angle, put it into a bucket of water to keep it fresh while you take other cutting and prepare your ports (if you’ve not already done so).
Fill some pots gradually, adding water as you go and allowing this time to drain before adding more soil and repeating this process. Remove any leaves, flowers and anything else that needs energy from the cutting to keep living and trim it a little shorter. Using your finger, make a hole in the soil in the pots for the cuttings to go into, and bury them about two thirds deep into the soil. If you are planting more than one cutting in a pot ensure you leave a gap of at least 3cm between each other, some plants are fine to put closer together, but unless you know what plants these are it is best to stick to a 3cm gap. Water the cutting well and as soon as you have planted it, place the pot(s) in a greenhouse or propagator if you have one, alternatively cover with a piece of glass or an inverted polythene bag.
In order for the cutting to grow you will need to give them a lot of care and nurturing going forward. Always ensure that you keep the cuttings warm, this doesn’t mean in direct sunlight but equally it also doesn’t mean in complete shade. Make sure you water the cuttings regularly enough, if you’re unsure check the soil which should be moist, but never dry or too soggy. Pay attention to the humidity of the environment the plants are in, as this should be kept high, your cutting may need to be misted with water a couple of times each day depending on the temperature, and more so as the days become hotter.
Try to be patient, its normal to be curious and start poking and pulling at your cutting hoping to see evidence that it has rooted but try and refrain from doing this as you are likely to ruin any progress that has been made so far. It will take weeks before you are able to see roots forming from the cutting, some plants even shed all their leaves and flowers and look like they are dying rather than rooting, so do not give up easily, keep looking after them well and be hopeful that the cuttings will eventually root. One thing you can do to check, that won’t hurt the plant, is to turn the pot over and check near the drainage holes to see if you can see any signs of roots. As the plants become rooted and start growing, re-pot them into better suited sized pots, or if they seem strong enough, out into the garden.
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