Semi-ripe cuttings are a good way to propagate a wide range of woody plants from late summer to mid-autumn.
The bases of the cuttings should be hardening and woody while the tip is still soft.
- select healthy cuttings from the current season’s growth. Cut with sharp secateurs.
- Put into a plastic bag immediately. Aim to pot them within 12 hours.
- Trim to 4-6 inches (10-15 cm); cut below a leaf node.
- Heeled cuttings (not cut, but puled away with a piece of the old stem attached) works well with Ceanothus and Berberis.
- Remove the lowest leaves the the soft tips.
- If raising large-leaved shrubs (eg hydrangea) cut leaves in half to reduce water loss.
- ‘wound’ difficult to root shrubs such as magnolia grandilora. Cut a sliver of bark 1 inch long (2.5 cm) on one side of the base.
- Dip bases in hormon rooting powder or gel.
- Insert into pots of cuttings compost (half free-draining potting compost, half sharp sand or perlite); water and allow to drain.
- Cover pots with a plastic bag in a warm, light place out of direct sunlight.
- Air regularly by opening the bag to remove excess moisture.
- Summer cuttings root well in cold frames as they don’t need bottom heat; in autumn use a propagator heated to 18-21 degrees Celcius.
- Harden off rooted cuttings for 2-3 weeks before potting on or planting out.