Taking basal cuttings from asters

How to take basal cuttings

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

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

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 not To do in May

Do not 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

During April, the strong basal shoots of herbaceous perennials make easy, quick-rooting cuttings. The tall forms of phlox are ideal candidates, and gardeners have long propagated them in this way to share with friends and neighbours. From July, you’ll see many gardens awash with their pink, purple and white flowers, and their perfume fills the evening air.

By taking your own basal cuttings, you can make lots of new plants, which gives you plenty of scope to try out different planting ideas. And you can use this technique on all manner of beautiful border perennials.

You will need

A sharp knife

A dibber or chopstick

Sharp grit

Clear plastic bag

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Total time:

Step 1

Select a plant with plenty of strong basal shoots, 10-12cm long, and choose three or four for your cuttings. Make a clean cut, severing the shoot as near to the base as possible.

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Step 2

Neaten the cut if necessary, then use a sharp knife to remove any basal leaves that may end up under the compost surface. Pinch out the top with your nails.

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Step 3

Use a dibber or chopstick to ease the cuttings into the compost, sinking them to at least 2.5cm deep. Cuttings will root most readily if placed around the edge.

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Step 4

Cover the compost surface with sharp grit to discourage weeds and retain moisture. Water and mist the cuttings frequently to cut down on loss of moisture through the leaves.

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Step 5

Place a clear plastic bag over your cuttings after watering to keep them damp.

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