How To Take Cuttings From Flowers

How To Take Cuttings From Flowers

Some flowers, such as lupins, delphiniums and chrysanthemums, are best propagated from cuttings of new shoots. In early March, lift and bring under glass, or cloche outdoors, the dormant stools or clumps. This hastens the growth of tender, succulent shoots, which make ideal cutting material. You can use unforced growth, but these shoots, unless taken when young, are tough and hollow and do not make pleasing cutting material.

When the shoots are 5-7.5 cm (2-3 in.) long, cut them as close to the base as possible. Using a sharp knife or razor blade, remove the small leaves closest to the cut and dip the base of the stem into hormone rooting powder. Insert the prepared cuttings individually into 7.5 cm (3 in.) pots, or put several around the edge of a larger pot filled with a mixture of peat and sharp sand or grit.

Water and place in a greenhouse or cold frame, or on a sunny window sill. Rooting will be quicker if you enclose the pot in a clear polythene bag. Insert canes or wires into the pot to keep the polythene from resting on the cuttings.

Once roots have formed and new growth has appeared, pot on into containers filled with John Innes No. 2 and harden off in a cold frame before planting out.

Sea hollies, dicentra and oriental poppies are propagated by root cuttings taken while the plant is dormant. Clean off any soil clinging to the roots and cut them into 5 cm (2 in.) lengths. The cut closest to the crown should be flat across and the lower one angled. Insert this end vertically into a pot filled with a mixture of peat and sand. Several cuttings can be accommodated in the same pot, as long as they do not touch each other.

Some primulas are propagated by root cuttings, but because the roots are very delicate, they are laid horizont ally on the surface of the compost and covered with a layer of sand.


To increase border carnations, remove the lower leaves from a non-flowering side shoot in summer. Make a slanting cut part of the way through the underneath of the stem, 15-20 cm (6-8 in.) from the growing point. Be careful not to sever the stem entirely. Bend the shoot where it has been partially severed and peg it down into sandy soil or specially prepared compost; you can bury a pot in the soil so the shoot roots directly into the pot. Once the roots have formed, cut the new plant free.

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