hardwood cuttings

Propagate with hardwood cuttings

Some plants are best propagated with hardwood cuttings when they are dormant in mid-winter or before the first new growth in spring. We took some nandina cuttings this month and have some tips to help you get it right.

What you need

  • Nandina domestica stems
  • Hardwood rooting hormone powder
  • 2L planting bags
  • Palm peat
  • Coarse sand

What to do to take your hardwood cuttings

  1. Select shoots that have grown in the current year and remove the soft tip growth. The shoots should be pencil thick.
  2. Cut into sections 15cm long that include 2 – 3 nodes, and cut at a slant just above a node. (This will avoid water from collecting on the tip, which can cause disease.)
  3. Cut straight across at the base below the bottom node.
  4. Mix 1 part palm peat to 3 parts coarse sand. Fill the planting bag and water the soil well.
  5. Dip the ends of the cuttings into the hormone rooting powder.
  6. Press the cuttings into the soil mix, roughly 7cm deep, making sure that at least one node is covered. Allow 5cm between the cuttings.
  7. Place the cuttings in a green house or cover them with a clear plastic bag. Ensure that they do not dry out. The cuttings should take approximately 6 weeks to root.
  8. Leave the cuttings to grow for a year. You can then plant them in your garden during winter dormancy. The roots on the cuttings in the image (Step 8) are 8 months old.

Other plants that you can take cuttings of in this way are jasmine, buddleja, abelia, viburnum and roses. Remember to always decant just enough hormone powder for the job at hand to avoid contamination of the rest, in case your plant is diseased.

The Gardener