How to Take Cuttings
When you sit outside admiring your garden, do you ever spot some pretty butterflies landing on your buddleja or bees buzzing around a fuchsia and think to yourself that there is another spot where even more of these blossoms would look particularly striking? Well, rather than having to take a trip to your local garden centre and spending money on a new plant, you could take a cutting from your existing one instead.
Softwood cuttings should usually be taken in spring and early summer, and it’s preferable to take them first thing in the morning when the plant is still full of water (turgid). This will give your plant the best chance of rooting.
Get out a sharp pair of secateurs or a knife and look for some healthy stems. Cut these to the length of 10cm, and then trim to just below a leaf joint (node). The greatest concentration of root buds live in the node, so they’re a great place to get started.
Handle with care
You need to take great care with your cuttings. They can be easily damaged if handled too roughly, so try to hold them gently by their leaves. If you aren’t able to move to the next step immediately, they can be kept in a labelled clean plastic bag in the fridge.
Prepare your plant pots by filling them with compost and water generously. Use a dibbler or clean blunt stick (you could use a pencil) to create a space for your cutting. Insert it into the compost so that it is immersed up until just below the leaf section. You can put more than one cutting in a pot, but don’t overcrowd the area.
Cuttings are most likely to flourish if kept in a heated propagator with a hood. If you don’t have one of these, you can also cover it with a clear plastic bag. Ensure the bag is taken off for 10 minutes at least twice a week to ventilate the cutting. Place in a bright area that is out of the way of direct, scorching sunlight. Keep the compost moist whilst the cuttings are first getting established.