Sustainable Life: Cultivate plants from cuttings | HerCanberra

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Sustainable Life: Cultivate plants from cuttings

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Plants that flourish from cuttings are almost indistinguishable from magic.

Rambling jasmine flowers, gorgeous geraniums, rosemary bushes and curry plants can all be grown from cuttings. Cuttings create a plant that is a genetically identical copy of the ‘mother’ plant.

This means it will be the exact colour and smell of a favourite flower. It’s a simple way to share plants with neighbours and friends or to create more of a particular plant that grows well in your own garden.

The easiest plants to grow from cuttings are small shrubs, like rosemary, sage or geraniums. Now is the perfect time of the year for softwood cuttings.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Take the cutting

Using clean garden equipment, remove a softwood section of the plant that you wish to cultivate. Aim for a length of cutting that includes at least 10 leaf nodules and is a little firm.

You’ll need more than just the ‘sappy’ growth at the end of a stem.

Step 2: Prepare for cultivation

Gently remove leaves from the bottom 5–8 nodules. You will now have 3–4 leaves on top and a bare stem below. You don’t want too many leaves on top as they can dehydrate the cutting.

If you’re super-keen to have a high strike rate, now is the time to dip the bottom of your cutting into some plant hormone to stimulate growth. Using hormone is optional; it just improves the likelihood of your cutting surviving.

Step 3: Plant into a pot

Place your cutting in a pot containing rich, well-drained soil. Water it in with some Seasol or liquid worm fertiliser.

You’ll need to tenderly water your cutting over the next 5–8 weeks, while it creates roots and becomes a new plant.

Step 4: Plant in the garden

After your cutting has developed its own roots, you’ll notice that it starts to grow new leaves as well. Now is the time to re-pot or plant it directly into a garden bed.

For those who are adventurous…or lazy gardeners, some plant cuttings can be placed directly into a garden bed. This lets you skip step 3, planting into a pot.

Geraniums have incredible resilience and almost every cutting will create a new plant when placed directly in their new location.

Just be sure to water them well in the initial few weeks, including with a dose or two of Seasol or liquid worm fertiliser.

 

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