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This is a brilliant idea! I could really use some help on easy cutiings, as I have failed until now
I get the dunce's cap for cuttings, even after lessons on this forum. I shall follow and take notes.
Good idea, Verdun! I am far from an expert and anything that is easy for me to do really is easy.
Fuchsias are really easy. You are supposed to take non-flowering tip cuttings, but they can be hard to find and I have found that flowering ones strike just as well. I just take a cutting about four inches long, strip off all the leaves except one at the top, dip the cutting in rooting gel and put it in moist compost with the leaf junctions under the surface. You are supposed to mix compost with coarse grit or vermiculite to improve drainage, but again, I have found that ordinary compost works perfectly well. I put a plastic bag over the top and apart from checking that the compost has not dried out, leave it alone for about four weeks, after which it has usually rooted. I then take the plastic bag off and keep it in the shade to grow on. There is some danger that the stem will rot if the compost is too wet, but actually it seldom happens to me and I've taken lots.
Some people think that you should not cover them because of the danger of botrytis but I think it is only really a danger if you put too many cuttings in one pot and they go short of air. I only ever put one or two cuttings in a 3" pot.
As Verdun has mentioned, penstemons and osteospermums are equally easy. I would not cover osteospermum cuttings - they root perfectly well without this and like to get plenty of air.
Morning campers. Snowing again in Sheffield. The easiest plants seem to be osteospermum, penstemon, perennial wallflowers, fuschia and pinks. My procedure is:
take cuttings 3 to 4 inches long using a sharp knife, place cuttings in a plastic bag until ready, [ stops them drying out ]
prepare loose mix of compost [added grit or vermiculite ] in 3 inch pots; using sharp knife trim cuttings below pair of leaf axils;
strip off all lower leaves; dip cutting into hormone root powder then insert cuttings [ may need to make hole with pencil first ]; water and cover with plastic bag.
If taking cuttings from plants with large leaves it helps to remove part of leaves left on cuttings. I do not cover cuttings of plants with grey leaves eg wallfowers as they do not like having a very moist environment. I also think that the earlier in the year that you take cuttings the better they will take.
If you should want extra cornus or buddlea you can easily take cuttings from the prunings you take at this time of yeat by simply taking 12 inch lengths of the prunings and inserting them deeply into compost. They will be ready to plant out in the autumn
Hydrangeas and leycesterias (Himalayan Honeysuckes also root really easily from cuttings.
Verdun, re the pinks. When can I do this?
I never have much luck with cuttings. I shall have to have another try
Any idea for Rosemary?
Rosemary, so they say, is actually easier to grow from cuttings than from seed. Simply do as others have said with the above plants. Cut a decent stem off and pull down on the bottom half of the stem, stripping away the fragrant leaves. Dip the bottom (read somewhere you shouldn't dip too far as it can cause the stem to rot) in rooting hormone of some kind and insert into compost until it reaches the leaves.
One thing I would say is important with Rosemary cuttings is the compost mix. I feel they do better with equal parts seed sowing compost and vermiculite. They really do need good drainage as they like it fairly dry anyway. Always go for seed sowing compost as anything else may have too much nutrients in it and be too strong for the fledgling plants. Also, also, if you have bottom heat, such as a propagator/heat mat, this will always speed up the rooting time of cuttings as it draws the roots down. You'll know if it hasn't worked because they go all manky and horrible!
Reading-wise, which is the only way I have to learn as I don't really know any other gardeners, I can't recommend enough 'RHS, Plant Propagation, Kenneth A. Beckett' and 'RHS, Propagating Plants, Alan R. Toogood' are exceptional books. The Alan R. Toogood one is brilliant for the amount of pictures it has.
I listened to a garden phone in on the radio and the garden expert said that hormone rooting powder was only useful for about a month after opening. He said it went off really quickly. I never realised that.
I find Sedum Spectabile (Autumn Joy) one of the easiest plants in my garden to propagate. It really is as simple as snipping a piece of and sticking it in a pot of gritty compost. I have lots of them around the garden and am always cutting bits off when they get to big for their space. They provide lovely colour at the end of the season and attract many bees and butterflies. This photo was taken in mid September.