Tips on Propagating Plants

Propagating plants can be a really rewarding and satisfying gardening activity, if you do it well. It is cheaper than buying lots of separate small young plants and is more likely to result in a patch of more even-looking plants than if you had used seeds. In general, softwood stem cuttings root the quickest, but you can propagate most plants through cuttings. Whilst the name of the process may sound confusing, it really isn’t when you know what you’re doing and this guide should explain just that…

Step One- Take your cuttings

Take a cutting of between 10 and 12 centimetres from the stem, or side shoot, of your chosen plant. You should do this just below a leaf, and leave two or three leaves at the top of the cutting, removing all others. Ideally, you should use a sharp knife to take the cuttings in order to minimise damage to the plant.

Step Two- Give them some help

These cuttings might not grow to their full potential if you don’t give them a little helping hand. Dip the end of each cutting into some root growth hormone which will imitate root growth on them. These products often contain a sort of fungicide to help prevent the cuttings from rotting. You will find this in most garden centres.

Step Three- Plant the cutting

To give the plants the best chance in growing properly, you should plant them in a container or plant pot instead of planting them directly into the ground. The plant container should be filled with about 8cm of builder’s sand, vermiculite or perlite, which should be moistened. Don’t forget to put drainage holes into your container to prevent it from becoming waterlogged.

Step Four- Put the container into a self-sealing bag

This will help the plant to grow well as it keeps moisture in the plant. Ideally, the bag should be kept from touching the cuttings or the leaves. You could use twigs or short canes to prop it up. Whilst the bag does need to be sealed to prevent water loss and the plant drying out, it is important to open it occasionally to give the plant air.

Step Five- Give it some light

It is a given that plants require sunlight in order to grow properly. However, it is important that they are not in direct light as this could damage the delicate cuttings.

Step Six- Plant them individually

It will take between four and eight weeks for your cuttings to become well-rooted and it is then, and when they have sprouted new growings, that you should transfer them into individual containers to grow separately. When they are planted individually, you should gradually expose them to more light.

Step Seven- Plant them permanently

Once you have hardened off your plants by exposing them to more light and tougher weather conditions in their containers, you can plant them in their permanent place in your garden.

Do you have any of your own tips and advice on how to propagate plants? Share your ideas in the comments section!

[Photo Credit: ukgardenphotos]