Growing plants from cuttings is a form of vegetative propagation whereby you are making clones of the mother plant. Growing plants from cuttings is an invaluable skill of nursery owners and plant hobbyists alike. Fortunately, it is also a super easy skill to master!
Not only have we broken down the process into easy to follow steps, but we have included our top 5 tips for successful cuttings so that you can skyrocket your yields!
Gather all of your resources before you start making your cuttings. You do not want your plants to wait around while you try and find all of your equipment. Make sure that you have the following:
Make sure that your original plants are healthy and mature. Any disease or problem that these plants have will be passed on to all of your cuttings.
Using your secateurs (which should ideally be sterilised beforehand), cut the stems of your plants at the nodes. It is important to cut at the nodes because the cells located here are meristematic, which means they are capable of developing into roots. The nodes are located at the bases of any leaves that may be present. The nodes may also bulge slightly on the stem if they have yet to grow leaves.
Gently remove all of the leaves apart from the uppermost two. This will ensure that your cuttings can continue to photosynthesize whilst minimizing the amount of water lost through the leaves.
Score the bottom 1-2cm of the cut stems. This will increase water uptake and remove the outer cuticle, which can sometimes obstruct root growth.
Fill your trays or flats with the soil mixture. Dip the bottom ends of your cuttings into a rooting hormone, which can help to promote root growth. Place these ends firmly, but gently into the soil.
Once your trays are full of cuttings, they are ready to go into a warm, humid area where they can develop their root systems. Using the spray bottle filled with water, give your cuttings a good misting. Keep your trays away from direct sunlight which will overheat your cuttings. It is also very important that the soil does not dry out, which will cause your cuttings to wilt and fail.
After a few weeks of being well-watered in a warm area, your cuttings will likely have developed roots. If you want to take a closer look at the root development, you can gently tug on the stems of your cuttings. A slight resistance will indicate that roots have grown and bound the soil around them. After a healthy, vigorous root system has formed you can start to think about replanting your cuttings into larger containers.
We recommend a growing medium made up of 30% vermiculite and 70% coir. The vermiculite promotes aeration (which is extremely important for root growth), whilst the coir retains the moisture needed to keep the cuttings alive.
You can also add some perlite to aerate your medium if you still find it to be too heavy.
Depending on the 'bendiness' of your stems, your cuttings will be made from soft or hardwood. Softwood cuttings root much easier compared to hardwood cuttings. Rooting hormones are tailored to this by having a lower or higher concentration of the root-inducing compounds. Use lower concentrations for softwood cuttings and higher concentrations for hardwood cuttings.
It is important to know the difference between the two, as it will influence that way your cuttings grow and look once matured. If your mother plants have a Christmas tree or triangular appearance, you must always make terminal cuttings. If your plants have more of a bushy appearance, both terminal and non-terminal cuts will be fine.
If you want to prevent disease and pest spread amongst all of your cuttings, we recommend sterilizing them with an all-purpose fungicide solution diluted in water. Submerge your cuttings in this solution for no more than 1 minute. Then leave them to airdry before you plant them in the rooting medium.
These areas are generally warmer than the outdoors and may also have automated irrigation systems. Not only will this minimize the stress placed on your cuttings, but these structures will allow you to produce cuttings year round, regardless of the season.
Did you like our cuttings guide? Be sure to check out our post about sowing fine seed evenly and easily in this post. You will not want to miss out on our insider tips!