Fall Cuttings Make More Plants

Willow Tree Cutting
Every year around this time I take cuttings of plants that I want to have more of next year, including Coleus, Brown Turkey Fig, Pineapple Sage, Nepeta Walkers Low and Forsythia.

Plus, I take cuttings of plants that have done well over the last few mild winters but may not thrive in a colder year. That list includes Lavender, culinary Sage, Rosemary and Flowering Quince. This year I want to try Viburnum because the variety we have is loaded with flowers and pollinators in the spring.

Growing plants from stem cuttings is the most common propagation method and the steps are not complicated. You will need sharp cutting tools, such as pruners, that have been cleaned with 10 percent bleach solution or rubbing alcohol.

Fill clean planting containers with planting medium such as sand, vermiculite, perlite and/or potting soil. Water and allow it to drain.

Forsythia shrub cuttings
 To make a flower pot greenhouse, insert chopsticks into the soil and cover with clear plastic that you have put air holes in.  I use fruit containers since they have air holes, drainage holes and a clear cover.

Cut a piece of the plant stem just below a leaf. You want 2 to 6 leaf nodes on each cutting. Remove the flowers and all but two leaves at the growing tip. Dip the bottom node into a small amount of rooting hormone and place it in a hole in the planting soil. Put the leaf nodes into the soil and keep the top leaves just above the soil. Press soil around the cuttings and close the cover.

Check the cuttings daily, opening the container to provide air circulation. Keep the soil moist but not wet. The new plants’ roots will emerge from the leaf node.

Next spring you can have dozens of free plants to fill your garden beds just by taking a few snips now and tending them over the winter.


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