How to take summer cuttings

How to take summer cuttings

Find out how to take summer cuttings of your favourite perennials, in our practical guide.

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To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do 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

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.

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You Will Need

  • 10cm pot
  • Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
  • Perlite
  • Knife
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • Polythene bag
  • Watering can with rose attachment

Total time:

Step 1

Taking softwood cuttings - trimming beneath a leaf joint
Taking softwood cuttings – trimming beneath a leaf joint

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.

Step 2

Taking softwood cuttings - mixing compost with perlite
Taking softwood cuttings – mixing compost with perlite

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

Step 3

Taking softwood cuttings - using hormone-rooting powder
Taking softwood cuttings – using hormone-rooting powder

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.

Step 4

Taking softwood cuttings - pushing the cutting into compost
Taking softwood cuttings – pushing the cutting into compost

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.

Step 5

Taking softwood cuttings - watering the cutting
Taking softwood cuttings – watering the cutting

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

Step 6

Taking softwood cuttings - covering with a polythene bag
Taking softwood cuttings – covering with a polythene bag

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.

Gardening gloves. Photo: Getty Images.