September is the perfect time of year to take cuttings from the tender shrubs in your garden.
Why now? They’ll form a good root system more quickly before the cooler weather sets in. AND, it gives you the chance to hold on to those plants that may not make it through the winter months.
Tender perennials generally grown as annuals that can be propagated
Propagating your cuttings:
Like the Scouts, be prepared!
Have everything ready before you take your cuttings so you can get them planted as soon as possible.
- Make sure you have special “cutting compost” (available from yours truly), so you know you’re providing good drainage. If the compost is too rich, your cuttings will become limp and leggy.
- Don’t take cuttings in the heat of the day, and put newly-cut stems in water immediately. If that’s not possible, cut them, place them in a plastic bag, and store them in the shade.
Take softwood cuttings such as pelargoniums, pinks, penstemon and salvia.
All these should root reliably in the autumn. Here’s how to carefully take cuttings:
- Select a non-flowering shoot about four inches long and cut from the main part of the plant.
- Remove the lower leaves, as well as the top three near the tip.
- Trim the cutting with a sharp knife to just below a leaf joint – it should end up around three inches long.
- Dip the end of the cutting in hormone rooting powder and put it into a pot of peat-free cutting compost.
- Don’t put the cuttings in direct sunlight; keep them on a well-lit bench or windowsill. You should soon have lots of healthy small new plants!
Keep your cuttings moist
Cuttings are at their most vulnerable in the first few weeks because they don’t yet have any roots to replenish moisture. To protect them, put them in a cool, light part of your home.
It’s good to give them a fine mist occasionally. If you decide to put a plastic bag over the cuttings, use small sticks under the bag to hold it up and help maintain and enclose the moisture. Plants grown under plastic can also create warm and humid conditions that encourage mold, so make sure you cut some holes in the plastic bag to improve ventilation.
If you see any leaves or cuttings starting to rot, take them out to prevent the disease from spreading.
Enjoy your new houseplants over the winter
Leave your new lovelies in their pots and seed trays and enjoy them with you inside over the winter. Come spring, your cuttings will be ready to be potted up and transplanted into your garden when the days get longer and warmer.
As always, your Garden Market is right here with everything you may need, including hormone rooting powder, compost, seed trays and… Encouragement. You can do it!