CUTTING - A piece of a plant induced to grow roots and become a new plant.

Hardwood cuttings Are usually taken from shrubs, or trees, at the end of the growing season, from this year's growth. Dig a 'V' shaped trench about a spit (Spade depth) deep and put about 5cm of sharp sand in the bottom. Take your cuttings and have them about 12cm longer than the hole is deep. Dip the end in hormone rooting compound and place them in the trench, at about 6cm apart. Now fill the trench in and compact the soil by treading it down. The following spring they will start into growth. Leave them where they are through that year and dig them up the following spring.

Softwood cuttings

Are taken from shrubs, trees, or herbacious plants, using this year's growth, usually in early summer. They should be kept in a shaded place as the sun will 'cook' them. Before taking them prepare a seed tray or pot and have a clear cover ready, a large plastic bag will do. The compost can be either 50:50 peat: sand or 50:50 peat: pearlite. The peat may be substituted for another type of soil, such as coconut coia. Geraniums and Fuchsias are generally propagated this way.

Leaf cuttings

Many 'Indoor' plants can be propagated using their leaves, Begonias, Saintpaulia (African violets) and Sansevieria (Mother-in-laws tounge) are amongst them.


Take the strongest growth you can and remove any soft tips as these will rot. Leave about four leaves. Dip the end in rooting compound and insert into the compost, deep enough to avoid touching the bottom of the container. Make sure you press the soil firmly around each cutting. Water the lot thoroughly with a fungicide added. Now put the clear cover over the container.

leave them until new growth appears and if it is not to late in the season pot them on into individual pots.

With deciduous cuttings you should remove any leaves that will be below the soil level when potted, as well as any soft growth at the top.


Most Conifers are easy to root from cuttings (Pines being the exception). They can be treated as softwood cuttings, but will take longer to root. When removing them from the stock plant break them off with a 'heel' of old wood. Take all foliage that will be below soil level off as this will rot

When potting up your cuttings, try to make sure they don't touch the bottom of the tray, or pot. To root successfully they must be surrounded by soil.

the cutting on the left of the illustration should be ok, the one on the right, in contact with the bottom of the tray will probably fail.

This of course applies to both deciduous and coniferous cuttings.

Here we see a Sansevieria leaf used for cuttings, It would be sliced through with a sharp knife, treated with rooting powder and potted up.

Care should be taken to keep the segments the right way up, that's to say the way they were on the leaf.


Allen. C. Roffey Sunday, August 5, 2018 8:24