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Propagation using Cuttings
Why Grow Plants from
It can be personally satisfying to
have plants in your garden that you have grown yourself either from seed or cuttings.
- The cutting grown plant is identical to its parent.
Plants grown from seed are not always identical.
- Its economical.
- Cutting grown plants flower sooner than seed
What is a cutting?
A cutting is a short piece of stem, which can grow
into a new plant
Some plants can be grown from cutting pieces just pushed into the ground. Some cuttings
will form roots in a glass of water. But most cuttings require a little preparation and
after-care to get good results.
Propagate cuttings in the warmer months after the spring growth has firmed, for best
of the recently introduced hybrids must be grown from cuttings, as they rarely produce
Cuttings grown from plants
granted a PBR (Plant Breeders Right) cannot be sold without permission from the registered
Cuttings grow best in a propagating medium.
What's in a
heat treated rock particles, with excellent aeration properties.
Coco peat or Peat moss
Sand: washed, coarse sharp
river sand. Beach sand is not suitable.
Coco peat is
made from the husks of the coconut and so is a renewable product.
Peat moss is
dug from ancient sphagnum moss bogs and is not a renewable product.
A Basic Medium for
medium needs to -
support the cutting so it does not move,
have been sterilised and free of weed seeds, insect pests and
retain moisture around the base of the cutting, but let excess
moisture drain freely
allows air to circulate within the medium,
have a ph 4.5-5.5 (to initiate root development),
provide nutrients for the developing roots,
be moist but not wet.
2 parts sand
1 part Coco peat/ Peat moss
1 part Perlite.
parts commercial seedling mix with 1 part perlite.
are the Best Containers for Growing Cuttings?
Use dark plant pots 50 to 100mm diameter. Light
coloured containers let light in, so that algae grow and block drainage holes.
Wash used pots in disinfectant or bleach to prevent the spread of disease.
Fill containers to the top with the cutting medium.
- Select mature plants.
- Cuttings are best taken early morning.
- Choose plant material that is firm but not woody (semi hard).
- Use a VERY SHARP knife or secateurs to produce a clean smooth cut.
Blunt equipment will damage tissue, which lets disease enter.
- Cut the stem just below a node (the bump in a stem where the
the cutting material
- Prepare cuttings in a shaded sheltered area
away from direct sun and drying winds.
- Select firm young growth as these make the best cuttings, ideal
length is between 50-100mm.
- Remove the lower leaves from each cutting carefully, by pulling or
cut with secateurs.
- Do not strip the bark from the stem of the cutting.
- Dip the lower end of the cutting in rooting hormone (comes in gel,
liquid or powder from most nurseries).
- Make a hole in the medium. An old knitting needle or skewer makes
a great dibbler. Insert the cutting gently, firming the medium and "bump" the
pot to settle the mix. Several cuttings of the same plant species can be put in the same
- Water in gently.
- Do not mix plant species in the same pot, as they can take
different times to form roots.
- Write a label for each pot. Include plant name, and the date
- Place pots in a shaded, warm, humid environment.
- Polystyrene boxes with a glass or plastic cover make an excellent
small propagating unit.
- For just a few small pots, use a plastic bag
inverted over some canes to make a little tent, or use a plastic drink bottle with the
bottom removed. Watch for mould in humid weather.
Hardening off and
When plants are grown in warm humid conditions,
they are soft and can be easily burnt by full sun and wind. They should be hardened off by
placing the pots of rooted cuttings in a shade house to acclimatise for a few days
After potting into single pots, they should be
placed in a shaded position until established.
Use a good quality potting mix, one that has a
Some species that
have proven easier to grow from softwood cuttings
||Grevillea Pink Pearl
||Pink spider flower
||Spreading guinea flower
||Dargan Hill Monarch
||Wattle honey myrtle
Callistemon Kings Park Special
||Purple honey myrtle
||Yellow emu bush
Some plants will develop roots if
placed in a glass of water
||Cut leaf daisy
There are a
number of plants which are difficult to propagate from cuttings, if not impossible!
||Big leafed Grevilleas
||Need bottom heat
Angus Stewart, A.B.C. Books Sydney
"Propagation, Cultivation and use in Landscaping". Reed New Holland Sydney
"Encyclopedia of Australia. Plants suitable for cultivation" Vol.1 Lothian
the Australian Plants Society, Central Coast Group in conjunction
with Gosford City Council and Wyong Shire