How to take carnation cuttings

How to take carnation cuttings

Follow these easy steps to boost your stock of pinks and carnations.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Pinks (scented) and carnations (unscented) are easy to propagate from ‘pipings’. These are made from soft tips of strong, unflowered shoots, around five pairs of leaves in length.

Summer is the ideal time for taking cuttings, as plant cells divide quickly, promoting root growth. Propagating plants by cuttings is an easy and cheap way of replacing straggly, old plants.

For best results, take cuttings first thing in the morning when the plants are less likely to wilt, and pot them up as soon as you can, keeping them out of strong sunlight.

For more plants to propagate in summer, check out these short guides to propagating houseleeks (Sempervivum) and dividing auriculas.

Follow these easy steps on how to take carnation cuttings.

Propagating plants by cuttings is an easy and cheap way of replacing straggly, old plants.

You will need

  • Pinks
  • Cuttings compost
  • Gardeners’ knife
  • Secateurs
  • Small pots
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Total time:

Step 1

Snip 10cm lengths from the tops of healthy, non-flowering shoots and pinch off all the leaves from the bottom half.

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Step 2

Prepare cuttings by trimming with a sharp knife just below the node where a pair of leaves joins the stem. Make a 2mm cut in the base of each cutting and remove the lowest leaf pair. 

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Step 3

Fill a pot or seed tray with seeds and cuttings compost, or sieved multi-purpose. Push the cuttings in around 10mm deep, spacing them evenly  so that the leaves aren’t touching.

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Step 4

Use a watering can, fitted with a fine rose to drench the compost. Cover with a plastic bag and pop on a windowsill to root. After a few weeks, when the cuttings are growing strongly, pot each one up individually to grow on.

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Uncover the cuttings every few days. This will allow fresh air to circulate the plants and reduce the risk of fungal infection. When new leaves start to grow, leave the cover off permanently.