Softwood cuttings - salvia

Adam Frost’s favourite plants for cuttings

Discover Gardeners' World presenter Adam Frost's favourite plants to take cuttings from.

Taking cuttings is easy to do and can be done with so many plants. Early summer is a great time to give it a go as the plants are actively growing, so your cuttings will root easily. If you’re growing tender plants, taking cuttings is also a good way to make sure you have extra plants in case of a harsh winter.

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Start with the basics

Some plants root more readily than others. Choose a healthy-looking stem of new growth that doesn’t have any marks or blemishes. The new growth should be firm but still flexible and not woody. For softwood cuttings, it’s also best to choose growth with no flowers. If you can’t find any stems without flowers, then pinch out the blooms or buds, and keep an eye on the cuttings to keep them free of flowers. The best time to take cuttings is early in the day, when the plant is full of water.

Use a gritty peat-free compost with perlite added. Use a clear plastic bag to hold in the moisture, making sure the leaves don’t touch the bag, as this encourages rot.

The best time to take cuttings is early in the day, when the plant is full of water.
Adam Frost

Place your cuttings in a light position (but not direct sun), don’t overwater and make sure there’s good air circulation around them.

Browse Adam’s pick of the bet plants to take cuttings from, below.


Penstemon

Softwood cuttings - penstemon
Softwood cuttings – penstemon

Beautiful bright flowers in late summer and autumn. Usually hardy unless you live in a very cold area.


Salvia

Softwood cuttings - salvia
Softwood cuttings – salvia

A great garden plant for late-summer colour. Many salvias are tender, but root easily as a cutting.


Fuchsia

Softwood cuttings - fuchsia
Softwood cuttings – fuchsia

There’s a fuchsia for every size of garden, from bedding varieties to large shrubs. Some are hardy and others very tender.


Pelargonium

Softwood cuttings - pelargonium
Softwood cuttings – pelargonium

A colourful summer bedding plant. Taking cuttings of this plant is a great way to make more bedding for the following summer.


Clematis

Softwood cuttings - clematis
Softwood cuttings – clematis

A super climber with so many varieties you could have a clematis in flower every season. Cuttings can be taken from any clematis and used to grow lots of new climbers.


Flowering currant

Softwood cuttings - flowering currant
Softwood cuttings – flowering currant

A great shrub for early spring flowers. Cuttings are very easy to root.


Dianthus

Softwood cuttings - dianthus
Softwood cuttings – dianthus

Easy to grow and perfect for the front of borders or containers. The evergreen foliage makes good cuttings.


Chrysanthemum

Softwood cuttings - chrysanthemum
Softwood cuttings – chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums make lovely cut flowers and produce vibrant booms throughout autumn.


Dahlia

Softwood cuttings - dahlia
Softwood cuttings – dahlia

Makes a colourful summer show in borders. It also grows really well in containers. Dahlia cuttings will help you build up new borders really quickly.


Buddleia

Softwood cuttings - buddleia
Softwood cuttings – buddleia
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A hardy shrub with flowers loved by insects. They smell lovely too! The cuttings root really easily. Rosemary is a great plant to take cuttings from. They root very easily, so you will have new plants in no time.