The Cuttings Thread

HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,014
edited May 2019 in Problem solving
A place for cuttings enthusiasts to inspire people who have lost hope with taking cuttings.
I have tried cuttings this year with lots of failure. I want to give up, but I really don't want to go out and spend loads of money on plants when I have plenty of healthy plants that could be the source of many new ones. I need to try and develop some patience and get it to work.
I have FAILED at:
Variegated holly, various conifers, prunus laurocerasus (pic below), euonymus (pic below). The euonymus has gone a bit floppy but seems to be perked up with water.  All cuttings had root powder, some grown inside (conservatory) and some left outside. All died eventually. I have tried to understand what went wrong, and it was probably a combination of water and temperature issues.
I have SUCCEEDED at crassula ovata (pic below), which is the easiest plant to grow and reproduce ever, so I can't really claim that a success! I'd have to be a total idiot to kill it.

I WANT TO GROW (first 4 in the pic):
  1. Acer Palmatum katsura (heel cutting, not sure which of my beautiful branches I want to peel off)
  2. Berberis darwinii (just finished flowering, maybe I could wait until the berries form and then just plant the seeds?)
  3. Euonymus (lots of varieties available for this)
  4. Ilex Aquifolium Argentea Marginata
  5. Weigela (if I can't lift/move/divide my existing mature plants)
  6. Buddleia (this should be easy? Haven't tried)
  7. Clematis Montana Rubens (I have 2 of these, one of which is completely finished flowering)
  8. Roses (should be easy enough)
One technique I haven't tried is layering, which should help me with the evergreens, but it means waiting an entire growing season before cutting off the newly rooted plant? So next spring? I saw some impressive air layering videos for fruit trees but I won't be trying my hand at that yet.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,414
    When did you take your holly and conifer cuttings?  They can take a year or so to root. I find holly is best propagated in the winter from hardwood  cuttings and inserted in the ground in a slit trench of gritty soil much as you would make hardwood rose cuttings. I then leave them for at least 12 months by which time they should’ve made some roots (if they’ve taken) and be ready to plant out into a nursery bed or individual pots to grow on. 
    If you took your holly cuttings this last winter it’s too early to give up on them yet. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,014
    edited May 2019
    I took those ones in Jan or Feb of this year. I read that holly needs to be taken from "this season's" growth (for semi-hardwood cuttings), so I assumed that because I hadn't waited for new growth this year, was partly the reason why they didn't work. If I have to wait a year for them I could stick them in a forgotten corner of the garden and move them when they're a decent size to be of use to me.
    The holly and conifer all dried out and went brown, so I probably didn't water them enough. or they didn't like the heat we had.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,414
    Holly cuttings often/usually lose their leaves ... not a problem ... they may just look like sticks in the ground for a while but they grow new leaves when they’ve rooted. 
    This is more or less how I take hardwood cuttings in early winter...
    I always put them in a trench in the ground as the watering isn’t so crucial and I can just forget about them except in times of drought.  I find roses strike really well this way.  One of the reasons I like hardwood cuttings is that you do them when there’s not much else to do in the garden, and if you grow them in a trench (I use a corner of the veg patch) then they’re not taking up space in the cold frame. 

    Ive not tried conifer cuttings  ... a horticultural student told me they were really tricky, but some folk seem to have no problems. 

    For other shrubs and ‘woody’ herbaceous perennials I take semi-ripe heeled cuttings in mid to late summer

    Hope that’s of some help 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,014
    Thanks. Looks like I gave up too soon on the holly and need to wait until late summer to take any semi-ripe cuttings. The euonymus probably won't work out then! I'd like to see some roots within 4-6 weeks. I could try layering with the euonymus, and with my lonicera as well.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,414
    edited May 2019
    I use layering for clematis and honeysuckle and similar climbers (I think it’s worth trying with the euonymus) ... I simply ‘damage’ about an inch of the lower surface of a long shoot, rest it on the soil and place a large stone or half brick over it.
    A year later it’ll have enough roots to manage on its own and I sever it from the parent plant and pot it up or plant it in its new home. 

    I suspect that, given your chosen forum name 😆 you may have a suspicion of what’s going wrong and what you need to cultivate 😉 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,014
    Ok, I could try this for my montana then. Is now the right time to do that? Does the long shoot have to be fresh season's growth? So all the old woody stems aren't going to root?
    As the years go by, gardening will teach me some patience...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,414
    edited May 2019
    Clem Montanas usually put on a lot of new growth after flowering. I’d train a few of the new stems down to the ground and when they’re beginning to ‘firm up’ and lose their ‘softness’, that’s when I’d layer them ... so late summer ish.
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,017
    I am not good at cuttings either @ImpatientGardener. I had good success with Penstemons last year by rooting them in water around late June from a tip I saw here.
    SW Scotland
  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 601
    I don’t have much success from stem cuttings, but find that using the tip and a very gritty soil seems to work far better.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,766
    I succeeded with pelargonium cuttings - very easy - and with penstemon which also seemed to strike very rapidly. Failed with lavender and cotinus. 

    I find euonymus layers itself, as do cornus, lonicera nitida and lonicera fragrantissima, so any of those would be prime candidates for layering rather than cuttings, I should think.

    I'm thinking of trying layering for the cotinus as the cuttings failed - anyone got a view on whether that's a sensible plan?
    You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
    Know when to walk away and know when to run
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