Softwood Cuttings Technique
6 Easy Steps
Propagating new plants by the softwood cuttings technique 6 easy steps is possibly one of the most satisfying gardening jobs you can do.
If, as I am you are gardening on a budget, learning to propagate new plants from your favourite shrubs is a canny way to save money. You can build up plant stock easily with by using several methods of propagation throughout the gardening year.
Friends and family benefit too as you can swap plants with each other or give homegrown ones as gifts to fellow gardeners.
Seeing new shoots emerging that you can then nurture into healthy plants ready to use in the garden is always fun and very addictive. Kids enjoy trying this as they can see the results of their efforts, encouraging them to continue learning more about gardening. I advise that you do the cutting of the plant material for them.
By taking cuttings from tender perennials you can be assured that even if the parent plants fail to survive the winter cold and wet, new ones are coming along to take their place.
Same too if you lose plants to disease or pests, they can be easily replaced if you take healthy cuttings at the best time.
When To Take Softwood Cuttings
The optimum time to take softwood cuttings is in the spring or early summer when new growth is fresh and supple. Cuttings are taken from the soft new tips as they emerge.
A wide range of shrubs, perennial plants and even some trees can be propagated by this method.
I have recently moved house and in the spring I took many cuttings to be able to take my favourite plants with me to my new garden.
With a long plant wish list, it was an economical way to gain new stock.
Which Plants Are Suitable For Softwood Cuttings
Hardy plants and tender perennials such as Aubrieta, Osteospermum, Penstemon, Gaura, Geranium, Pelargonium, Verbena and many others.
Deciduous shrubs can also be grown in this way, Buddleia, Hydrangeas, Perovskia, Camelia, Ceanothus, Privet, Azalea, Blueberry, Deutzia and Viburnum.
The list goes on, if in doubt have a go, you have nothing to lose and potentially plenty of new plants to gain.
Some trees can be propagated by softwood cuttings too, Maple, Birch, Crab apple, Cherry, Ginkgo and Lilac, once again I urge you to take a chance. Growing a tree from your cuttings is so satisfying, what’s more, you are helping the environment.
A variety of houseplants can also be propagated in this way.
For new gardeners softwood cuttings are the easiest and most successful, having the highest rate of success of any method of stem cuttings, therefore encouraging you to try different methods as well to build up your plant stock.
What You Will Need To Take Softwood Cuttings
- Healthy plant material
- Sharp, clean secateurs or knife
- Plant pots
- Growing medium
- Rooting compound
- Add to this a little time and patience and watch your garden grow
How To Take Softwood Cuttings 6 Easy Steps
- Take cuttings from disease-free plants and avoid any flowering shoots. Remove any flowers and/or shoots as this will help the cuttings to direct their energy to grow strong healthy roots. Early morning is the best time to collect your cuttings as this when plants are well hydrated.
- Keep the shoots in a plastic bag with damp tissue around the stems until you are ready to plant them.
- Remove a third to a half of leaves from the stem.
- Dip the stems into the rooting compound and tap off any excess. The compound is specially formulated to stimulate root growth.
- Insert the cuttings in pots of low fertility growing medium, a mixture of one part low nutrient compost and one part perlite or sharp sand is ideal. The growing medium should be well-draining to allow for good aeration.
- Water and cover with plastic or place the pots in a clear plastic bag. Pop them somewhere shaded, out of direct sunlight. Keep the compost moist but not over wet.
Don’t forget to label them.
After Care Of Softwood Cuttings
When your cuttings have rooted you can put them into larger pots to grow them on further, until they are garden ready. By growing them in pots for the first few seasons rather than planting them in the garden too soon, you will increase their chance of survival.
By taking cuttings at the right time, you can easily fill your garden, as well as replace plants at little cost.
Gardening can become an expensive pastime, especially with the temptation of irresistible flowers and plants in garden centres. Experiment a little, work with Nature herself she will help you to grow wonderful plants.
The above photo shows successful cuttings from Jasmine, Acer, Viburnum and Brazilian Fuschia.
The right time for the right plant is key to success.
Other methods of propagation are equally easy and valuable gardening know-how
Hardwood cuttings technique – 5 easy steps shows you how to propagate cuttings from woody perennials and shrubs such as buddleia, choisya, roses and cornus.
Propagating plants from seed is another very cost effective method. How to grow plant seeds 5 easy steps
Growing vegetables and flowers from heirloom seeds is a satisfying idea and helps to keep these original varieties going.
Electric heated Propagators are a great piece of equipment for seeds sowing and growing, add one to your gardening wish list, they make great gifts.
I hope that this article has proved useful, giving you some encouragement and inspiration to have a go at propagating new plants for your garden.
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Should you have further queries, please pop them in the comments box below. I always reply as soon as possible.