Taking cuttings isn't difficult; a few simple steps are required, to ensure success. First, get all the materials needed. You will need sharp knife or pruners, to take the cuttings from the original plant, containers to put your cuttings into, the soil, or compost, the rooting hormone, water and somewhere light and warm to put them.
Containers for your cuttings, can be plant pots, Styrofoam cups, or used, clean yoghurt pots, or plastic cell packs. If you are doing a large amount of cuttings, a tray is advisable, as this prevents movement of the roots of your cuttings if you need to move them. You also need a lid to keep the moisture level high while your cuttings are trying to root; either buy trays with clear plastic dome lids a plastic bag can work well.
It is best to purchase a sterilized potting soil, as this will prevent any disease from attacking the cuttings, as well as providing the needed amount of aeration to the growing roots, or you can make up your own. Cuttings need to be moist and humid to stimulate rooting, and to prevent them loosing water, but it must be free draining. An ideal compost would be equal parts of sand, or ground grit, with peat or peat substitute with perlight added to keep the mixture aerated. Slow rooting cutting would also need a slow release fertilizer.
A rooting hormone is helpful, but not essential, for cuttings. Rooting hormones are powders that the cut end of the plant is dipped into, before they are inserted into the soil. These powders are a very mild acid that activates the plant into thinking they need to grow more roots so it encourages roots to grow. You can be successful when not using rooting hormones, you will generally have better results when I've used them.
Rooting hormones come in different strengths; Number 1 for softwood types of cuttings, Number 2 for semi-hardwood types and Number 3 for hardwood types. Most cuttings taken from average gardeners are softwood and therefore Number 1 is the most used. Number 1 is for plants such as geraniums and plants with a green stem. Number 2 is used for plants that are more woody in nature and have a brown tone to their stem and Number 3 is generally used for tougher stems, such as shrubs.
1) Best time to take cutting is in the morning, before it gets too warm.
2) Do use a fungicide spay every couple of weeks to prevent fungicide diseases.
3) Do not let your cuttings dry out.
4) Do not be tempted to pull on the cutting to see if they have rooted.
5) Do not cry over a few failures, this happens to the experts too.
6) If you are taking cuttings from more than one plant, it is advisable to dip your cutter into a mild bleach and water solution to prevent disease.
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