Root Cuttings ready for planting How to Take Root Cuttings

How to Take Root Cuttings –

Learn How to Propagate Your Favourite Herbaceous Plants

Follow this easy step by step guide which shows you how to take root cuttings from your favourite plants. Taking root cuttings is a simple way to propagate herbaceous plants to build up your garden stock.

Propagating your own plants is a most satisfying skill to have. Propagation techniques are simple and affords us more plants to use in our gardens and what is more they are free, they have no “airmiles” and you know exactly how and where they have been produced. It’s a win win for you, your garden and the environment.


When to Take Root Cuttings

The best time to take root cuttings is mid autumn to early winter, when the plants are in their dormant period.

It is a successful method of propagating herbaceous plants such as:

  • Papaver – Oriental Poppy
  • Verbascum
  • Echinops
  • Phlox
  • Acanthus
  • Japanese anenome

These herbaceous plants all produce new shoots from their roots, and these are what we are going to use in order grow more plants.


How to Take Root Cuttings. Pink Papaver
How to Take Root Cuttings
A Step by Step Guide

What are the Advantages of Taking Root Cuttings?

  • Large numbers of new plants can be grown
  • They don’t need a lot of attention or care
  • Root Cuttings produce healthy, vigorous and strong plants
  • They are free from foliar pests such as leaf or stem nematodes which may be affecting the parent plant
  • The plants are free
  • You gain satisfaction from growing your own plants
  • It is a job you can do in winter so you can get your fix of garden work even in the quiet time

How to Take Root Cuttings

  • Choose vigorous plants to take cuttings from
  • Lift the plant and wash the soil from the roots
  • Select young roots, about the thickness of a pencil, cut them off near to the crown with a clean, sharp knife or secateurs
  • Remove about one-third of the root system from the parent plant
  • Replant the parent plant as soon as possible
  • Discard the thin root end and remove any fibrous side roots
  • Cut each root into 5-10cm lengths with a horizontal cut at the upper end and an angled cut at the lower end
Root Cuttings ready for planting How to Take Root Cuttings
How to Take Root Cuttings A Step by Step Guide
  • Fill pots with cuttings compost – equal parts peat free compost and gritty sand or perlite.
  • Insert the horizontal end of each cutting just below the surface of the compost
  • Plant them about 4cm apart
  • Top dress with a 1cm layer of grit
  • Water lightly and keep in a cold frame or greenhouse
  • Pot up into individual pots in spring

Your new plants will be garden ready the following year.

Take care not to over water your cuttings as this will rot the roots.

Plant cuttings in a greenhouse How to Take Root Cuttings
How to Take Root Cuttings
A Step by Step Guide

Some woody plants can also be propagated in this way, with these larger plants dig gently around the root system and take pieces of the roots from near the crown to use.

  • Syringa
  • Rose
  • Raspberry
  • BlackBerry
  • Robinia
  • Campsis
  • Passion Flower


Taking cuttings is a very satisfying job to do at a time when there is little else that needs doing in the garden. If you want an excuse to escape into your outside space for a while then this is the job for you. Make a cuppa and take some time for yourself.

You can also propagate new, plants from seed, either by collecting seeds from your own favourite plants or by seed swaps with fellow gardeners or buy the seeds that you wish to grow.

How to Grow Plant Seeds. 5 Easy Steps

Learn how to propagate plants from hardwood Cuttings Technique-5 Easy Steps too, this method is for shrubs, and woody perennial plants.

I hope this article has helped you see that this is an easy and enjoyable process.

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Any queries or thoughts can be added to the comments box below and I will reply as soon as I can.

Happy Gardening

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