How to take softwood cuttings

Do it:

Jun, Jul

Takes just:

15 minutes

It's easy to create more plants for your garden without having to fork out at the garden centre. Take softwood cuttings from your ornamental shrubs and woody herbs, and you can boost stocks for free.

Softwood cuttings should be taken during June and July. Choose strong, current season’s shoots, as they have the potential to root quickly and rapidly grow into new plants. The hydrangea shoots (pictured above) are perfect.

Taking cuttings is simple and easy, and a cost effective method of filling gaps in beds and borders. It's also a great way to replace dead shrubs, or to create gifts for friends and family.

You will need

Shrubs to take cuttings from

Secateurs

Sharp knife

Good quality compost

7cm pots

Thin canes or rods

Polythene bag

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Remove shoots, longer than the finished cutting, just above a leaf on the parent plant.

Aim to make a cutting not more than 10cm long. Use a sharp knife to cut just below a leaf joint and remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.

Reduce leaf area by half to minimise water loss from the cutting.

You may wish to dip the base of the cutting in hormone rooting powder, tapping off any excess. Using rooting hormone increases the rooting speed and successof the cutting, but it isn't essential.

Insert cuttings into 7cm pots of moist cuttings compost, keeping lower leaves just above compost level.

Push in thin canes around the pot, then cover with a clear polythene bag held in place with an elastic band. Place cuttings in a warm position, out of direct sun, to root.

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