Thursday, June 26, 2008

Plant Cuttings:

The Basics For Better Survival Rate For Your Cuttings

While propagating and taking cuttings for new plants isn’t generally involved in any new landscaping projects, it is sometimes a question from clients with existing gardens and landscapes. Most times it's to duplicate an exact plant, expand mass plantings, or make plants for new areas. For most people, however, it’s too much trouble and much easier to simply buy new plants. For others, it’s enjoyable, relaxing, and rewarding to see the results.

Exact methods of taking cuttings and best time of year vary for different plants. The best survival rate depends on how and when you take cuttings. This is basic and in most propagation guidelines. However, these two considerations are both often over looked and cause for failure. You simply can’t just take a cutting from any plant at any time of year and expect great results.

Softwood cuttings are best taken in late spring when there is vigorous growth and new branches have leaves of different sizes. At this stage they root easily but still need a lot of care. Semi-hardwood cuttings should be taken when the leaves are full size and the branches are beginning to get stiff. This is usually late summer. Hardwood cuttings should be taken in dead of winter but will not begin to root until spring. Soft stemmed plants and flowers can generally be taken in any season and will root quite easily.

Use a clean knife with a very sharp blade or well sharpened pruning shears. A clean cut and a clean knife will help safeguard against diseases. Clean the blade between plants with rubbing alcohol or bleach. Wipe off excess and dry the blade.
Leaves left on cutting will continue to produce nutrients and energy for the plant and developing roots. If your cuttings do require leaves left on the stem, cut them in half. This way more energy will be channeled to growing roots rather than feeding leaves. Again, use a clean sharp blade.

It’s very important that the plants don’t have to struggle for moisture and that they’re not allowed to dry out. The planting medium should be kept moist but not soaking wet. Mist several times a day or cover the plants with plastic so that humidity and moisture stay high around the cuttings. Make sure the plastic doesn’t stay in contact with the plantings. It could cause burn, mold, or disease to form. Use props such as sticks to prop up the plastic.

These are just a few of the considerations to ensure the survival of your cuttings. With these in mind, you will increase your chances for more of your plants to take root and survive. Article from The Landscape Design Site which offers free home landscaping ideas, garden plans, pictures, and professional advice. For more landscaping and garden ideas visit his site at

Free articles from: