Root Cuttings – from late autumn (in cold frame)

** You cannot use root cuttings on variegated cultivars as new plants will have plain leaves.**

November is the time when some herbaceous plants such as  phloxacanthus and oriental poppies can be propagated by root cuttings.  Select pencil-thin roots, cut into 2-4 inch lengths with a horizontal cut at the top and an angled cut at the lower end.  Push them into cutting compost so that the horizontal cut is just below the surface; top-dress with grit.

Lift healthy plants when dormant (from late autumn onwards).

  • Wash the roots, then select young tick roots and sever them close to the plant’s crown using a sharp blade.
  • Take no more than a third of the root system from a parent plant, and replant it as soon as possible.
  • Discard thin root ends, and remove any lateral roots.  
  • Make each root cutting at least 2-4 inches (5-10cm) long.  Plants with thinner roots such as campanula and phlox need longer cuttings of 3-5 inches (8-13 cm).  
  • Insert about 2 inches apart into pots of moist- free-draining compost so that their tops are flush with the surface.  Top-dress with 1/2 inch layer of grit.  
  • Place cuttings in a cold frame, or use a propagator with bottom heat. 
  • In spring check for roots, pot-up successful cuttings and grow on to plant out next year.