Six Steps to Growing Plants From Softwood Cuttings

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Softwood cuttings should be taken from April to August, Depending on where you live, you may be able to start taking middle of march.

Step one for taking cuttings

Cut off a plants healthy side shoot roughly 3 to 4 inches long, with 3 to 4 pairs of leaves and no flower buds. The cut should be made just below the leaf node (the point where the leaves grow out the stem). Remove the bottom leaves, just leaving 2 leaves on the cutting, this should give you 1to 1.5 inches of bare stem. If you have some softwood rooting hormone you can dip the bottoms in that, but it is not essential.

Step two for taking cuttings

Fill a small plastic pot or shallow tray with a combination of seed compost and grit. Use your cane to make holes about 1 inch apart. Place one cutting in each hole and firm down. Put a label in your plant pot or tray, and water with a fine rose watering can, or use the mist gun.

Step three for taking cuttings

To retain moisture and warmth. If you have used a pot, put a clear plastic bag over the cutting and fix with a elastic band. If you have used a seed tray cover with a piece of polythene making sure to prop the polythene up, so it doesn't touch the cuttings. An alternative to this is to use a electric propagator. You can get a small cheap one to start with, and if you get on well upgrade to a larger one. Some cuttings do better in a propagator, whilst others do better just using polythene. I suggest using a polythene method to begin with, If you struggle with any plants, trying them on a propagator.

Step four for taking cuttings

Leave your cuttings in your greenhouse or polytunnel for approximately 2 to 4 weeks. You must check them every day, and every 2 days spray them with a fine mist to stop them trying out. If you take the cuttings in July and August, it is probably better to place them underneath your bench in the daytime as they may scorch if they are in direct sunlight.

Step five for taking cuttings

After about one week the cutting should start to have roots on them. Once 70%-80% of the cuttings have started to root,or about 60% anyway, remove the polythene at night times, then place it back on in the day. Do this for about a week before leaving the Polythene off altogether (make sure we have a few cloudy days when you remove the polythene to stop scorch).

Step six for taking cuttings

Once they've been out of polythene for about three weeks, You can pot them into individual pots. Leave them in the greenhouse or polytunnel for a few weeks before moving them outside.

Taking cuttings is more experemental than scientific and it will depend on if you have green fingers.

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