Gardening

Article excerpt

IF you want to increase your stock for next year, you can start now by taking semi-ripe cuttings from all sorts of shrubs and herbs, soft fruit and lavender, through to the first half of September.

Beginners to gardening can become confused with the terminology and when to take cuttings.

Softwood cuttings are taken in late spring and early summer, taking young shoots from parent plants before the shoots become woody and hard.

The cuttings are soft, short and quick to root, and need to be kept in a moist atmosphere.

By mid to late summer, the stems have hardened and are referred to as semi-ripe.

Semi-ripe cuttings should be taken when new shoots from this year's growth have started turning slightly woody at the base.

The cutting is quite hard while the tip is still soft.

They take longer to root than softwood cuttings, so the cutting should be slightly longer, and are used for deciduous plants that root easily such as Salvia microphylla, hebe, deutzia, cornus, philadelphus and weigela. Hedera, lavandula and choisya are also suitable.

Before taking any cuttings it's a good idea to prepare the plant in advance so that it has plenty of strong growth that can be utilised.

To do this, cut back the plant quite hard at the start of the dormant season and use the strong new growth which is produced the following year.

When you take a cutting from any plant, first check that it is healthy, free of pests and diseases and is true to type.

Cuttings taken from non-flowering stems will have more of the hormones needed for successful rooting than stems with flowers. If there are flowers or buds on the stem, cut them off as they will be using energy needed for making roots. …