To accelerate the increase of stock, you should definitely try growing new plants from cuttings. They are much sturdier than seedlings, and they are the clones of the parent plant, meaning that you can choose the desirable qualities like size, yield, vigor, and disease resistance.
GroWell point out that:
“What you need to remember about seeds is that you never know what their genetic make up is -- all plants grown from seeds will have slightly different characteristics.
Cuttings, on the other hand, are genetic clones of their parent plant. Always use cuttings from your best-performing plants when you can. “
Moreover, it is highly cost-effective, since you can exchange cuttings with friends, or multiply them from a few ones you have bought.
Cutting is the only way you can propagate sterile plants, such as some naturally occurring and artificially developed hybrids, along with methods of vegetative reproduction.
As explained in Backyard Chicken Coops,
“There are lots of reasons why people decide to propagate plants. Some avid green thumbs might decide to propagate certain plants if they feel it produces particular high-quality fruit or is aesthetically superior in some sense.
Sometimes gardeners simply grow attached to certain plants they’ve grown over the years and decide to take cuttings with them if they need to move house.
Often the reasons can be as simple and as sweet as somebody wanting to share the beautiful plant they’ve grown with a friend or neighbor. No matter what the reason, propagation is a valuable skill that every gardener should try to get on top of at some stage. “
Furthermore, they add:
“Propagating a plant basically takes place in three stages. The first being the cutting stage in which a stem is removed from the parent plant.
The second stage is essentially cultivating those stem samples. The final stage involves transplanting the surviving healthy stems back into the garden so they can continue to grow fully.”
Cuttings can differ depending on the age of the stems from which they are taken, and these are the most common cuttings types:
Stem sections – You can propagate numerous cane-forming plants by midsections of their long stems, and the 4-6 inch sections with a few nodes can sprout roots at the bottom end and new top growth from side buds. Make sure you mark the bottom stems when you divide them.
Root sections – Some plants are easier to grow from root cuttings and divide them into sections.
Leaf cuttings – Some succulents grow new plants from the entire leaves.
Softwood cuttings – These are taken from May to June from new shoots, and the green and soft stems need frequent misting.
Semi-ripe cuttings – These cuttings are taken from June to August from matured stems, and the root grows due to the warmth during the summer.
Tip cuttings – Take 6-8 inches long cutting from the growing tip of the stem, below a node.
Hardwood cuttings – Woody stems are taken in autumn and winter, and when the shrubs start shedding leaves, you should prepare the cuttings.
Basal cuttings – Cut near the main stem, and take a side branch.
Heel cuttings – You should yank a few side branches off the parent plant, to preserve a part of the main stem.
Now, here is all you need to know about a successful rooting process:
According to Dr. Sharon M. Douglas, from the Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station:
“As with any procedure, there are some basic tools and equipment that are necessary in order to complete the job and the following list highlights some necessary and optional items:
- pruning shears
- scalpel, sharp knife or razor blade
- paint brush
- wooden matches
- small wooden sticks
- wooden or plastic stakes
- soil-less potting mix or a 1:1 mix of peat moss and clean, coarse sand
- sphagnum moss
- wire or wire coat hangers
- propagation mat (used for bottom heat)
- pots or flats of various sizes
- rooting hormone
- clear plastic bags and plastic wrap”
Preparing the Cuttings
Strip the cuttings from the lower leaves, and then stick them in the rooting medium. In the case of woody cuttings, make sure you scrape the bottom end a bit in order to expose the cambial tissue.
On the other hand, if you use fleshy stems cuttings, leave them for a few days aside to help the formation of callus at their bottom end.
- Rooting medium
It is best to avoid garden soil as it might contain a disease that can cause rotting of the cuttings. The best combination for a constant moist is a mixture of peat moss and sand/perlite, free of fertilizers.
- Regular misting and watering
Mist the top portion of the cuttings and water them all the time, to make sure they are properly drained and avoid wilting. To create a warm, humid atmosphere, cover the pot/propagation tray with plastic.
- Providing warmth
To stimulate root growth, use heating pads.
- Rooting hormones
To boost the rooting process, use hormones, but in this case, do not use fertilizers.
Here are some useful simple tips that will make the process of growing plants from cuttings, even easier and more fun:
-- Always work in the morning, as that is the time when the plants are well-hydrated and fresh
-- use only healthy, vigorous source plants
-- Before you take the cuttings, moisten the rooting medium well the night before. Fill the containers well and water the medium again the next morning
-- You can take many cuttings from one softwood shoot
-- Cut the pieces of the shoots just above the nodes, which are the swollen, joint-like area where leaves attach
-- You should take off all the leaves of the pieces, and use only one leaf or a set of leaves at the top
-- If needed, you can wrap the cuttings in damp paper towels to retain the moisture
-- Use plastic bags to cover the containers and trays, and place them in warm, shaded places
-- You should regularly mist the cuttings in order to ensure a proper hydration and water them frequently to keep the rooting medium moist
-- protect the new plants from heat and from drying, so use the material as quickly as possible after it is prepared
-- give the newly propagated plants extra attention and care during their establishment phase
You can experiment with growing any herbs or plants from cuttings, but the following ones give the best results:
1. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.) – Take tip cuttings when the plant becomes leggy, and pot them up in moist compost and sand potting mix.
Mist the leaves and water the plant. Make 3-inch long sections of the stem that remains, them horizontally into a tray of a moist peat-sand mix, cover with sand, and cover with plastic. You should pot up the new plants in separate pots.
2. Ti plant (Cordyline spp.) – Trim off the lower leaves off 1 to 1 ½ ft long growing tips, place them in a potting mix, in separate pots, and place them close to a bright window.
If any part of the cane is left over, cut the remaining parts of the cane into sections 8-10 inches long, and insert into a bed of moist soil.
3. Fragrant Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) – You should just use tip cuttings and mid-section cuttings.
4. Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia spp.) – You should cut off the leafy heads, set them aside for a day, and as soon as the callus is formed, pot them up in separate containers.
Cut off the remaining bare canes 2 inches above the soil line, divide them into 3-inch sections, and put them in rooting trays with peat and compost. You should cover them and keep them in a well-lit place.
5. Thyme – Insert the cuttings in a moist potting medium in summer.
6. Basil – Root up tip cuttings and keep them in a warm, protected place, not exposed to direct sunlight.
7. Holly – You should take 10-12 inch cuttings from a female bush in fall, dip in rooting hormone powder and pot up in moist rooting medium, covered with plastic.
8. Weigela – In late spring, take 5-inch long softwood/semi-ripe cuttings and plant them. Cover with plastic, and in early fall, plant them outside.
9. Horseradish – Cut the root into 3-inch sections in early spring, and plant the foot apart directly in the garden bed.
10. Rosemary – Use 3-5 –inches long tip cuttings in spring, or heel or basal cuttings in fall, and root them directly in individual pots covered with a plastic dome.
11. Sage – In autumn, take 4-inch semi-ripe basal cuttings and pot up but make sure you keep the rooting medium moist and warm, and transplant it when the spring comes.
12. Lavender – In early spring, root 3-inch tip cuttings in a cold frame. After a month, transplant the rooted plants into garden beds, and take the heeled cuttings in summer or fall for the next year.
13. Fuchsia – In summer, you should insert tip cuttings with 3 pairs of leaves into a moist compost-sand mix and cover with plastic.
14. Californian tree poppy (Romneya sp.) – At the end of the year, dig up some roots, cut them into 3-inch sections and lay them horizontally on a tray of a moist sand-compost mix. Until you notice the shoots, keep them covered with glass, and in the summer, plant them outside.
15. Rose – In fall, plant out 12-inch long hardwood cuttings and water them frequently until the winter.
16. Hydrangea – Remove the lower parts of 4-inch long tip cuttings with 3-4 pairs of leaves, trim the stem a bit, and insert into a moist rooting medium. Cover with plastic sheet, and trim the larger leaves by 3/4th.
17. Comfrey – In fall or early spring, take root cuttings and plant them directly in a deeply worked bed. Cover with mulch.
18. Rex Begonia – You should make several slashes on the prominent veins on the underside of the leaf, lay it on a moist bed of peat moss and sharp sand, and get a few pebbles to weight it down, but to keep the cut edges in contact with the bed.
19. Snake plant (Sansevieria) – You only need 2-3 inch sections of the leaf and make sure you plant sections of rhizomes to retain the variegation.
20. African violets – You should cut off the young, healthy leaves with 2-3 inches of leafy stalk, poke a hole at a 70-degree angle, place the stalk of each leaf into a tray of moist compost and sand, and place in a bright area.
21. Geranium – Use 6-8 inches long cuttings, but allow the parent plant to wilt a bit before taking the cuttings. Withdraw water for a week, then water the plant, and take the cuttings after 12 hours.
22. Philodendrons – Tip cuttings with 2-3 nodes, and as the roots form, they will start growing.
23. Jade plant (Crassula) – Take 3-4 inch long cuttings with a sharp blade, and place them aside for several days. When a callus forms around the stem, insert them in a well-draining potting mixture and water them occasionally.
24. Aluminum plant (Pilea cadierei) – Strip the low leaves of tip cuttings with 3-4 nodes, and trim the stem. Insert them into moist rooting medium, and place them in a warm place.
25. Coleus – Use the axils of leaves on coleus, water the plants well, and take out the leaves and stick into some moist rooting medium.
Now, just enjoy the results!