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Winter maintenance of cuttings

EmerionEmerion Posts: 576
Hello, I took some cuttings from a scented geranium and a verbena bonariensis a few weeks ago and they are growing well.  I'm wondering if I should pinch them all out to keep them manageable and stocky over winter? If so, how short? They are on a west-facing windowsill. 
Carmarthenshire (mild, wet, windy). Loam over shale, very slightly sloping, so free draining. Mildly acidic or neutral.


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  • I would certainly pinch out the Verbena Bonariensis, they can grow very tall and become leggy and floppy if they are not pinched out.  If they are more than 2 - 3 inches tall, then nip out the main stem and a couple of the top leaves this will encourage side shoots to grow. In all truthfulness I sow mine in March as they grow quickly and are easy to grow  rather than having the faff of looking after them all through the winter, it is one of those things that you learn on the job.  Sorry I can't help you with the geranium.
  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 576
    Hi Diana,  I'm not an expert, but I think it may be getting late. However, as the stems are going to die away soon, what have you got to lose? They were very easy. You pull off the side shoots rather than snip them. Put them in damp, really free draining growing medium and off they go. I used mostly sharp sand with a tiny bit of all purpose compost because that's what I had to hand. 

    Thanks for the advice Guernsey Donkey2. I suspect you're right but I'm  just getting into cuttings so going a bit mad on them at the moment. 
    Carmarthenshire (mild, wet, windy). Loam over shale, very slightly sloping, so free draining. Mildly acidic or neutral.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    In a word - yes, although you can just cut back the pelargonium back rather than pinching it out if it gets a bit leggy. They can get a bit leggy if they're in the house and getting warm. :)
    The verb. bon would be better outside and under cover, but if you have nowhere suitable, just leave it where it is, and gradually acclimatise it to the great outdoors next year, once the weather warms up. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 576
    Very similar then, except it was my dad growing wigwams out of runner beans for me to use as a den. Anyway, no plastic bag. I've tried that method many times and the cuttings always fail. It may just be me though, because that seems to be the usual way to do it. 

    Re keeping them outside. I struggle for suitable sheltered spots. Cuttings don't seem to like the polytunnel, whether it's open or closed over winter. The windowsill is doing better so far - long way to go though!
    Carmarthenshire (mild, wet, windy). Loam over shale, very slightly sloping, so free draining. Mildly acidic or neutral.


  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 576
    That's a great idea. I have used plastic bottle tubes as early protection for sweetcorn, with the bottoms strengthened in a hot pan to make them robust, but I can see how they would also protect cuttings without squashing or rotting them. Maybe I can try some outside then. Thank you. 

    I've snipped-back the vb and pelargoniums ( keep calling them geraniums, can't help it), and they look much tidier. 

    Actually, now that I think about it, I did go with my grandad to his allotment when I was small. I remember carrying a bunch of chrysanthemums home for granny, whilst he carried  the veg - he couldn't possibly be seen in public carrying flowers! 
    Carmarthenshire (mild, wet, windy). Loam over shale, very slightly sloping, so free draining. Mildly acidic or neutral.


  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 576
    Those are all great ideas, and I've taken note 🙂. Good luck with your cuttings. 
    Carmarthenshire (mild, wet, windy). Loam over shale, very slightly sloping, so free draining. Mildly acidic or neutral.


  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,048
    If I may add to the thread...I have these Hebe cuttings and they're getting a bit tall, worth pinching out something like these?


  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 576
    Hello, sorry, I'm ignorant also. But you would think it would be better to have compact plants rather than leggy ones wouldn't you? Hopefully someone that knows what they're talking about will chip in. 
    Carmarthenshire (mild, wet, windy). Loam over shale, very slightly sloping, so free draining. Mildly acidic or neutral.


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,574
    Dirty Harry, I would take out the top two leaves out of each cutting.  Pot them on singly when you can see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot.
  • I agree with you fidgetbones - I would remove the top two leaves and the new growth at the top.  I have successfully taken hebe cuttings, fairly easy to root and also potted them on when the roots show at the bottom of the pot. I planted my cuttings out this summer and they have all flowered in the past month or so. Sorry this picture isn't very good, but shows that this method described above does work.
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