Taking Softwood Cuttings Of Shrubs

Softwood cuttings are an easy and inexpensive way to add to your garden. Learn how in this article.

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to add to your garden is to take cuttings from existing plants and planting them in your garden. Taking cuttings from softwood shrubs is relatively easy and very rewarding. You can use shrubs that you already have in your garden or perhaps from your neighbor's, asking their permission first, of course. Taking cuttings is not harmful to the existing plant in any way.

The first step is to gather your supplies. You will need a planter, sterile potting soil, rooting hormone and a sharp knife. Put a few stone or broken pieces of pot in the bottom of your planter and fill the rest of the way with potting soil. Now take a cutting from the shrub. This is done by cutting a small, soft branch at the very base, right where it joins the stem. Try to get the small knob that attaches it to the stem as well. You will have much better success if you pick a soft stem as opposed to an older stem that has already developed a woody stalk. Dip your stem into lukewarm water and then into the rooting hormone. Now take a pencil or the blade of your knife and plunge it straight down into the soil in your planter. This creates a hole for you to put the stem in. This is a very important step. If you stick the stem down into the soil without putting a whole in the soil, first you risk crushing the stem, not to mention rubbing off the rooting hormone. Once you have your stem in the hole, tap the soil lightly around the base until it is well supported and water well.

From this point continue to care for your cutting as you would any plant, fertilizing it every four to six weeks, and making sure it receives enough moisture. Keep in mind that a planter will not retain as much moisture as a plant that is in the ground, so you should plan on frequent watering.

When to transplant? That depends. If you take a cutting in early to mid spring, you should be able to transplant your shrub into the garden in the fall. If you take your cutting in the summer or later, you should plan to keep the plant potted over the winter and planting it in the garden in the spring. That being said, it is tricky to keep plants alive in containers in areas where the weather is severe. If you live in Zone 6 or further North you will need to keep the pot in a protected area where it receives at least four hours of sun a day. Directly against your house on the south or south west side may be enough to protect it from prevailing winds and frigid temperatures.

You can see, for obvious reasons, that the simplest and most successful time to take cuttings is in the spring. While this may not always be possible, you will have the best success when you do it this way.

© High Speed Ventures 2011