How to take summer cuttings

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Takes just:

30 minutes

Cuttings taken from new shoots will root easily in spring to provide new plants for flowerbeds or pots. Alternatively take cuttings of your favourite plants in late-summer to overwinter indoors ready for planting or potting in the following season. Practice the basics of rooting softwood cuttings with our step-by-step advice and you'll be able to use these skills for more complex cuttings.

You will need

  • 10cm flower pot
  • Cuttings compost
  • Perlite (optional)
  • Sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone liquid (optional)
  • Polythene bag
  • Watering can

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Softwood cuttings are taken from the current season's growth. Choose non-flowering side shoots. Use a sharp knife to trim below a single leaf joint or pair of leaves aiming to create a finished cutting of 8cm - 10cm long. Carefully remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.

Mix your compost with equal parts of perlite to make it more aerated. This can encourage quicker rooting.

Although not essential for easy-to-root plants, dipping the base of the cutting into rooting hormone will promote root development. Carefully tap off the excess powder or liquid.

Fill a 10cm pot with cuttings compost, tapping it on the work surface to consolidate it. Insert the base of the cutting into the pot of compost. If you have a 10cm pot you should be able to fit three or four cuttings in it. Try to position cuttings so that their leaves don't touch.

Water the cuttings using a watering can fitted with a rose and allow the excess to drain and the foliage to dry.

Cover the pot with a clear polythene bag held in place with a rubber band around the pot, to keep the compost moist. Place the pot on a well-lit position indoors, but out of direct sunlight. Keep compost moist and your cuttings should root in six to eight weeks.

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Remove the polythene bag once a day and shake out excess water to prevent conditions becoming too humid inside.

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