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 spring and summer, from March to August. 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 for taking hydrangea cuttings.
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.
In this short video, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine expert David Hurrion shows you which stems make the best cuttings, how to prepare and plant them, and which type of compost and pots to use:
More advice on taking softwood cuttings:
You Will Need
- Shrubs, to take cuttings from
- Sharp knife
- Good quality compost
- 7cm pots
- Thin canes or rods
- Polythene bag
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.