Magazine article Sunset

New Shrubs for Free: Create More Plants by Using Cuttings from Existing Plants in Your Garden. (Project)

Magazine article Sunset

New Shrubs for Free: Create More Plants by Using Cuttings from Existing Plants in Your Garden. (Project)

Article excerpt

Hydrangea, butterfly bush, and many other handsome deciduous shrubs can be propagated easily and quickly from softwood cuttings--pieces of stem that are neither too new nor woody. Deciduous shrubs generally reach this stage between early and midsummer. (Here's a test: A good softwood cutting will snap when bent. If it bends without breaking, it's immature; if it is dark and bends barely at all, it's too mature.)

Most softwood cuttings take from two to four weeks to begin making roots. Within six weeks, plants should have developed enough roots to make them ready for transplanting into a larger container.

RELATED ARTICLE: TIME: 10 minutes or more (depending on number of cuttings)

COST: A few cents per pot

MATERIALS

* Pruning shears

* Paper towels

* Gallon-size or smaller plastic bags

* 2-inch pots or other small containers

* Potting soil or propagation mix

* Rooting hormone (liquid or powder)

* Thin stakes

DIRECTIONS

1. Take cuttings early in the morning. Choose healthy lateral growth. Make cuttings 3 to 5 inches long, snipping just below a leaf node. (Temporarily store the cuttings between wet paper towels in a plastic bag. Keep them in the shade. …

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