If you have a favourite shrub, it's easy to make more plants by taking cuttings. From late June to early August, many plants produce fresh, firm shoots that can removed from the plant with a pair of secateurs and will readily root when put into damp compost.
Taking cuttings from shrubs is an easy way to increase your stock of many popular garden plants for free, including hydrangeas, philadelphus, lavender and forsythia.What to do How to take the cuttings
- Choose healthy, pest-free and non-flowering shoots of new growth. Snip from the parent plant and collect inside a plastic bag - add a few drops of water and shake to prevent the plant material wilting while you're going round the garden taking your cuttings.
- Cuttings should be 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) long. Prepare by making a straight cut beneath a pair of leaves and then remove several sets of lower leaves that would rot in the soil if left behind.
- Keep only one or two pairs of leaves at the tip. Most cuttings root better if the cut end is dipped in hormone rooting liquid or powder.
- Fill a pot with free-draining compost (a mix of 50 per cent cuttings compost and 50 per cent horticultural grit), level and firm.
- Insert several cuttings around the edge of a pot, keeping their leaves clear of the surface and water well.
- Take several cuttings from each shrub to increase your chance of success. Label if you're making cuttings of several varieties.
- Put in a propagator or cover the pot with a clear plastic bag, held in place with an elastic band, to stop the cuttings from drying out.
- Put in a light place until rooted.
- Keep cuttings damp and grow on until they have rooted.
- Check by looking for roots growing through the holes at the base of the pot, or by gently tugging at the plants after three weeks. If there’s resistance, they may have rooted.
- Pot each rooted cutting individually and plant out when they have filled their new pot with roots.
- When plants are about 15cm (6in) tall pinch out the tips to encourage new branches to grow.
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