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soft and semi-hardwood cuttings

Marton, New Zealand

Hi. What is the best mix to make up for soft and semi-hardwood cuttings and is it good to put them into a misting unit. Looking forward to your reply. Jane:)

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Janeanne, thisw is the best time of year to take soft AND hardwood cuttings, Both are done the same way, it's just the material (Hard / soft) that's different at summers end.

I never use a misting unit as I dont trust them in my climate, you have to put them on a timer and there will be days when you really dont need the misting and IF you do, then it takes maybe half an hour to hand mist depending on how many cuttings you have.

This is the best time to take cuttings from Fuchsia, geraniums (bedding, or the trailing or hairy leaf ones with perfumed leaves, carnations, jeeeez just about anything,
take NON flowering side shoots by cutting then off just below a bud / leaf axle, try get pieces about 4-5-6 inches long, soon as you take the cuttings place them into a clear plastic sandwage bag to preven drying out while you search for more cuttings if you want more. writ on the bag what plants you took the cuttings from, colour, name, date, trailing or upright, flowering time and date, make sure you use labels when you insert the cuttings as when rooted, one plant can look same as the other IF your gathering say fuchsias. Geraniums etc.

The soil you use is important too, I use my own mix if shop bought compost as this has been sterilised and IF you use your home made compost, it may have a disease fungus or whatever, 9I have always found for mature plant home made compost is best BUT I dont want to take a chance with dozens of cuttings.
Too the shop compost I add HORTICULTURAL SAND, (from garden store) NOT builders sand that may have lime added.the bag of sand is a couple of dollars, I also add some small grit for good drainage. so take a 12 inch flower pot, make 4 fills of shop compost, 2 of sand, 1 of small grit, 1 and 1/2 perlite to help keep air in the soil mix. Mix all this well and start to fill your small pots,
I put the small pots onto trays with NO holes as I want to water the pots from the bottom once the cutting are inserted.
Next prepare each cutting by gently cutting off the bottom leaves, cut off any flower buds close to stems, tidy up the bottom and make sure the cut at the bottom is just above a leaf axle or bud depending on the plant you use. dip the cutting into rooting powder or gel and make hole with pencil in EDGE op pot and pop in the cuttings, about 5 cuttings per pot. [email protected] use rooting powder / gel On geraniums as it might rot the bottom, but prepare the cuttings in the same way same amount per pot and at this time of year you should have roots withing 4-6 weeks, when enough roots have formed, repot into individual pots and grow on, in a light but shaded area, on windowsill without direct sunshine is fine too, dont water unless needed and only MIST IF you feel the plants need it, That's for all soft wood cuttings,

Most hard wood cuttings are treated the exact same, except I don't use rooting compounds for those. now you need to tell us what kind of hardwood cuttings your using, some hardwood cuttings are called this because your using the stems further down the plant where the wood is classed as stiff and harden than the ones I just describes as 4-5-6 inch soft tips.

the other type of hard wood cuttings are from material that has harder wood, like shrubs or trees ect.

I have just advised someone else to go to book store or library and look for a book plain English, no fancy words or stuff you dont understand, and it will give you all the info you need from best time to strike cuttings, to month soil temp, and it also tells about bulbs and various other types of plants for propagation and once you read this it is fun to begin doing much of your own propagating, it's cheaper, it's filling your garden for the next year and it lets you give plants away, here in UK it's used to keep bedding plants that wont last in storage outside or too big for in doors.

Hope this give a bit of insight to this part of gardening and how easy it can be de[ending on the plant material, but it helps you understand all about the plants your growing too, a great winter past time if you like to have hands in soil out-with the summer days.
Good luck, get back with any other questions you have and see if others can help too, remember we all have different methods but basics are the same we just adjust to what our needs are to suit out own situation.
Kindest Regards. WeeNel.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Weenel are you saying that heading into fall is the best time to take cuttings or heading into spring as they are in New Zealand?

Marton, New Zealand

Hi.Weenel, thanks for your reply ,regarding the misting unit I use it for softwood cutting e.g cistus etc., I do have it on a timer to start misting 3 times a day 9am 12 noon and 3pm for 1 minute from spring thru summer, why I asked about cutting mix is that I had been useing a vemiculite mix which i was told I can reuse however I am not to sure about that as I have not had much success, I could be wrong and it was just bad luck what do you think? Looking forward to hearing from you and thanks again. Jane:)

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Doug, it's only August so I really don't call that heading into Fall, for plants anyway.
Softwood cuttings should root within about 6-8 weeks max and by then were into October, the advice I was giving was for keeping the cuttings inside,
Janeanne said she had a misting unit and that tells you she may be able to store her new cuttings inside.

The best time for taking soft wood cuttings is as the plant has flourished all season, has made plenty side shoots with NON flowering shoots, (even small flowering buds can be cut off) the small side shoots are able to make new roots for growing on inside in light conditions and when enough roots have formed, they can be potted into individual pots to grow on till next spring when you replant them outside and the cycle begins all over again IF you wish to increase your stock.

All the pro plant growers have to do this type of restocking there stock for coming up for sale the following spring, AND also when you have a plant that you would be upset at loosing it over winter, this is a great way to make new plants and you will never loose your favourite plants again.

Hard wood cuttings as I explained are done the same way BUT it all depends on what type of plant the hard wood is taken from.

Hope this helps you out but if not, get back to me and I will do my best to further help.
Best of Luck. WeeNel.

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