Semi-ripe cuttings – late summer to mid-autumn

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.