cuttings

Do You Want to Multiply Your Plants for free?

Cuttings are a great way to multiply your plants for free.

That rosemary plant that you love. Or the gardenia that gives such beautiful flowers. Or that Camellia bush with the red and white striped flowers that your friend has and that you covet! All these plants can be grown for free easily using cuttings from an established plant.

Do You Want More Plants for free?

Gardenia flower

What You’ll Need to multiply your plants

All you need to multiply your plants are a few standard gardening tools, pots and potting medium. The instructions follow below if you want to try this.

You need a plant to get cuttings from, sharp scissors or secateurs, honey or hormone rooting powder, potting medium and pots plus a plastic drink bottle.

Sharp scissors or secateurs are most important, to ensure you start with a clean cutting that hasn’t been crushed or bruised.

Using honey or hormone rooting powders encourages the plant to grow roots, helping create a new plant. I prefer honey because it has an anti-microbial action. This helps keep the cutting sterile as well as helping provide some nourishment.

Do You Want More Plants for free?

Coir peat for potting medium

For the potting medium you can use seed raising mix or create your own potting medium. The potting medium I use is made from a mix of coir peat and washed sand. Potting mix alone won’t provide enough substance to support the cutting.

You need a plastic pot in which to place the plant cutting. Use several pots if you want to take a lot of cuttings. Only small pots are needed to start with because these allow the plant to get established easily. After the plant has grown you will be potting it up into larger pots.

However, if you only have a larger pot, try placing several cuttings together. Just make sure the cuttings are not touching each other.

To finish you need a plastic drink bottle or other clear container. You use this to create a mini greenhouse for your cutting until the plant has grown.

What You’ll Do

The first step is to identify the plant that you wish to multiply. You need to make sure that the plant is large enough and healthy enough that it can live through the removal of one or several stems!

As I said above, this plant is the one(s) that you want to multiply for free from your existing garden. Or it can be a cutting from a friend or neighbour. I have even taken cuttings from plants that I have admired when walking around the neighbourhood. If you do this, it’s good manners to ask the owner if they mind you taking a cutting!!

Do You Want More Plants for free?

Heel cutting

For maximum success it is better to take a “heel” cutting, as the plant will actively produce new roots from the heel cuttings.

To take a heel cutting, find a point where a small branch is produced from a stem and gently pull the branch away. A small amount of the stem will come away with the branch. This is what a heel cutting is. A plant is more likely to grow roots from the heel part than it is from straight stem part.

If you can’t get a heel cutting, make sure that you have at least one leaf junction on the stem. This leaf junction or node should be close to the base of the cutting. These junctions are also areas where new roots can easily grow. To increase the chance of root growth carefully slice up through the leaf node and insert a small amount of sphagnum moss into this opening.

Do You Want More Plants for free?

Cut the leaves

Then remove some of the leaves on the cutting so only have two or three leaves are left. With plants like gardenias and camellias I also cut the remaining leaves in half if they are large. This helps to minimise moisture loss until the cutting has established its own root system.

Place some of your potting medium in a clean, plastic pot. Dip the cutting, heel end, in the honey and ensure a good coverage. I normally dip at least 2-3cm of stem into the honey.

Using a pencil or some other implement make a small hole in the potting medium, and push the cutting in the hole. Take care not to rub off the honey. Gently push the potting medium around the stem then press around the cutting with your fingers until it is supported. The cutting should not be more than half covered.

Do You Want More Plants for free?

Mini greenhouses

Finally take the plastic bottle (soft drink or milk containers both work well) and remove the bottom with a sharp knife. Cover the cutting with the top of the plastic bottle. This creates a mini-greenhouse for your plant. Water the pot gently, attach a label and place in a cool area out of the sun, but with plenty of light.

How You’ll Know You Have Succeeded

You will know when the cutting has taken as it starts to grow new leaves. When they have sufficient new growth they can be potted up into a larger pot.

Some plants like rosemary grow really easily from cuttings. So if you take lots of cuttings, chances are that you will end up with lots of new plants. This is great as you can share these with your friends and family.

Happy gardening from Rohanne, Your Personal Garden Expert 🙂

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