In another life, I worked in plant nurseries and spent many hours with my colleagues propagating plants. We raised many thousands of plants by seed (which is another story). Today’s story is how to take a successful cutting.
In this instance I am taking rosemary cuttings, rosemary is fairly easy to grow from a cutting and a number of methods can be used.
This method of taking cuttings is called ‘heel cuttings’ you literally pull the side shoot off the main branch and leave a ‘heel’ on bottom of your cutting.
To get started, harvest your rosemary plant material in the morning if possible, and take semi-hard wood cuttings, think of it just like pruning the tops of your rosemary plant, you want branches about the thickness of a pencil with side shoots.
Once you have gathered your rosemary you can start stripping off side shoots, these will become your cuttings. A good length for your cutting is roughly the same size as your index finger (2inches)
|Trimmed Rosemary Cuttings|
You want to prune any flowers or excessive foliage to reduce water evaporation and stress on the cutting.
Once you have finished talking your cuttings you are now ready to place them in your cutting mix. Make a hole with a dibber stick, or a pencil, and then place your single cutting in the hole and firm the cutting mix around the cutting. It is important not to just push the cutting into the pot as this will damage the heel and retard the growth of new roots.
You can place the cuttings quite close together as this helps reduce water evaporation from the cuttings and they like each other.
|Lemonbalm snug in their pot|
Sprinkle with water as needed, at least once a day to ensure that the cuttings don’t dry out. Place the whole container somewhere warm and sheltered away from direct sun.
The cuttings will develop roots faster in spring/ summer and they could be ready for potting on within 6 to 8 weeks. You will know when they are ready by giving them a gentle pull and seeing if they are resistant, and by the development of new top growth.
|Lemonbalm ready for potting on|
Gently remove the cuttings by inserting a small trowel or knife under the root structure and pot on into good quality potting mix and water.