Propagating Softwood Cuttings
Many shrubs are best propagated from the soft young shoots they produce in spring or early summer.(1)
Although softwood cuttings can be taken at most times of the year, it is better to take them in June / July, to allow them time to establish before the onset of winter.
- Take cuttings, by selecting soft new shoots 75-100mm (3"-4") long ideally with two or three nodes (buds) on them.
Do not use shoots showing signs of pest or disease damage.
- Make the cuts at the junction between new and old wood, cutting just below a node.(2)
- Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting to reduce moisture loss (dehydration).(3)
Pinch out the growing tip if the cutting is longer than 100mm (4”).
- Trim the end off the cutting above a node and dip it into a hormone rooting powder / gel.
- Fill a 125/150mm (5”/6”) pot with well drained compost and insert cuttings around the edge of each pot, ensure that they are not touching each other.
- Label the container/s and thoroughly water in the cuttings.
- Place container/s in a propagator, ideally with bottom heat, alternatively place in a clear plastic bag and placing somewhere warm if a propagator is unavailable.
A soil temperature of around 16°C (60°F) and a minimum air temperature of 4°C (40°F) is ideal.
- Give the cuttings plenty of light, but ensure that they are not scorched by direct sunlight.
- Check the container/s periodically ensuring the compost remains moist until the cuttings are well rooted, and remove any cuttings that may have died off.
Depending upon species / variety cuttings should root in approximately six to ten weeks.
A sign that they have rooted is, the growing tip will be a fresh green colour.
Once rooted pot on into suitable sized pots of potting compost.