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How to Grow Plants from Cuttings

Save money on new plants by using your own plant cuttings to regenerate your garden.

| March 2018

  • Removing the bottom layers of leaves will expose the stem and offer better roots to grow.
    Photo by John Laurie
  • Honey is a natural root stimulant.
    Photo by John Laurie
  • You can use any free-draining container to plant your cuttings in.
    Photo by John Laurie
  • “Grow. Food. Anywhere.” by Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon is a guide to growing fresh and nutritious produce no matter the size and location of your garden.
    Photo courtesy of Hardie Grant Publishing

Grow. Food. Anywhere. (Hardie Grant, 2018) by Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon goes through every fruit and veggie you can think of, giving you the best tips on growing each, as well as the different buggies and diseases that may be coming after your garden. In the following excerpt, they will teach you how to grow plants from other plant cuttings.

Growing from cuttings is a special class of propagation that allows you to cultivate a new plant by using a trimming from an existing plant – essentially creating a clone. This method is most commonly used for flowering, aromatic culinary plants such as mint, marjoram, sage, rosemary, thyme, hyssop and lavender. These plants have naturally occurring growth hormones that allow them to create roots from broken stems. It’s like a lizard re-growing its tail – only in this case, it is like another lizard growing from a discarded tail. Cuttings are robust and much faster than growing from seed. This process allows you to quickly multiply your plants without costly trips to the nursery.

Many herbs are dormant over winter and do all of their growing from spring to autumn. Therefore, when we propagate cuttings it is good to start before mid-summer so that they can soak up as much light and warmth as possible.

1. Choose healthy, mature plants from which to collect your cuttings. We’ve had our best success with new growth, so look for young, green stems at the tip of each plant.

2. To test whether the stems will be effective, a ‘bend test’ suffices. Simply bend the stem back on itself – anything that breaks before turning 90 degrees is too woody. Anything that can turn 180 degrees back on itself without breaking is too young. You are ideally looking for snappage to occur somewhere in between.

3. Collect a number of cuttings approximately 20 centimeters (8 inches) in length.

7/5/2019 8:48:40 AM

I tried several times this spring to root a gardenia and followed instructions listed here. No luck. Any ideas for gardenia propagation?

Mother & daughter gardening guru's
3/25/2018 8:42:36 PM

Me & my daughter are newbies to the whole propagation expierence. Our 1st trial is in it's infancy stage. We took cuttings last year of sentimental lilac trees. Mine was from my mother's light purple. Hers was from the cemetery where her dad's buried. We did just what we were instructed to do.... & now with them in the ground. We'll remain hopeful not hopeless that we will prevail. Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated. Mother & daughter Wanna be gardening guru's Cherokee, Co. Oklahoma

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