If you love flowers and colour in your garden then you should get to know what it takes to make your own softwood cuttings and learn how to propagate your own garden plants and herbaceous flowers. The process is both enjoyable and rewarding and only a small number of steps stand between you and a cold frame full of rooting cuttings.
Before getting started there are a few garden tools that you will need. The first is a sharp garden secatuers, you will also need compost, perlite, plant pots, cling film, watering can, plant labels and a cold frame.
The range of plants that can be propagated from softwood cuttings is endless. Some great plants include:
- Violas, Delphiniums and Asters
- Buddleja, Fuchsia, Hydrangea,
- Betula, ornamental cherries and some maples
The key to successful cuttings is to choose healthy, young, fresh and actively growing stems. These stems will be the most responsive and mostly likely to develop a root system once it comes into contact with soil.
The stems of all plants have many humps or bumps on them which are active growing points known as nodes, these nodes can remain inactive until stimulated at which point they can become buds, and buds have the ability to become a flower bud, stem bud or root bud.
When you place the node of a cutting into compost the node is stimulated to become a root bud and will develop a root system directly off the stem.
This process can be a slow and tenuous event and you should be first to take the best care of your cuttings over that time. Water or moisture is important, therefore regular watering is needed. Ideally your cuttings should be cared for in a cold frame. The Cold frame will help to contain moisture levels while protecting the cuttings from cooler night time temperatures. Shade is also important for your cuttings and you should cover the grass panels of your cold frame with newspaper. To further improve the moisture retention of your pots you can loosely place cling over the cutting and around the plant
After 2 months of careful incubation in your cold frame your cuttings should be ready for transplanting on to their final location. Before doing so be sure to harden your plants off first.
Once you have transplanted your cuttings from the cold frame and out into the garden you can begin to plan for the autumn and winter ahead and what use to put your coldframe to next. With that in mind you can begin making hardwood cuttings in Early November and over winter your lettuce and pea crops in your coldframe.