Cuttings are one of the simplest and most successful methods of plant multiplication. In this post we see the herbaceous, woody and semi-woody cuttings, the characteristics and how to make them.

Cuttings are an excellent method used to multiply a vegetative species, including our favorite garden and balcony plants. This method is very simple, used at amateur level, able to obtain new plants with the same characteristics as the mother plant, from which we took the cuttings. There are different types of cuttings. In this article we will go into more detail those of stem. Depending on the degree of ripeness of the branch, they are classified and distinguished into herbaceous, woody and semi-woody cuttings.

Herbaceous Cutting

Also called softwood cutting, this type of cuttings are made in spring, until mid-summer if grown outdoors, all year round if grown in greenhouses. They are taken, besides the various herbaceous species, from shrubby and arboreal plants, before they begin to lignify.

You can take herbaceous cuttings of top or branch, using buds without flowers and without flower buds. The length of the herbaceous cutting should be 5-10 cm, we can leave 3-4 leaves, eliminating the basal ones. The mother plant we want to multiply should be healthy, free of diseases and pests. Above all, it is important that it is hydrated and never dry. It is recommended to water the plant the day before taking the cuttings.

How to do This

Once we have chosen the species to be multiplied, we take a well sharpened knife and cut a branch, making an oblique cut, just under the knot of a leaf. The nodes are the swollen parts of the plant, where all the nutrients necessary for the development of flowers, fruits and lateral shoots are stored.

We will use pots or boxes, or a propagator that we will fill with a good soil, composed of peat and sand. To stimulate the herbaceous cutting to emit roots, it is necessary to use a good soil, suitable for sowing and cutting, and adequate humidity. I recommend to disinfect the cut with a fungicide to avoid rottenness. To avoid damaging the tender herbaceous stem, use a small stick to puncture the previously moistened soil, where we will place the cuttings at a depth of 2 cm and water with a nebulizer.

Now we can cover the pots, or the propagator with the appropriate cover, with the plastic sheet, or with the bottom of a bottle cut in half, so that the new plants will not have rooted. We must place the cuttings in a shady but bright area. The seedlings will have to survive a few weeks so that the cut heals, forming the callus from where the roots will develop. When new shoots form from the knots of the cuttings, it is the signal that the plant has rooted. Now we can remove the cover by accustoming the plants to the light and progressively to the sun. If necessary, the cuttings are ready for transplanting.

Semi-Woody Cutting

The semi-woody cuttings are taken from the mother plant from the middle till the end of the summer, when the end of the chosen branch is still green. This type of cuttings are more lignified than the herbaceous ones, less than the woody ones. They root more slowly than the previous ones, but they have a better chance of surviving. This is the best way to reproduce many types of shrubs, including the Camellias. In the blog there is an article about the multiplication of this species, if you want to know more, you can read this post:

Camellias the time of pruning and multiplication.

How to Proceed

You cut and take 10-15 cm long branches, choosing the youngest ones of the current year, with at the base a portion of the oldest bearing branch. It differs from the colour, which will be paler than the already lignified branch. The oldest branch is called heel and not all semi-woody cuttings have it. Eliminate the basal leaves and the buds closest to the heel, leaving the last 2 or 3 leaves, whole or reducing them in half, halving them. Immerse the base of the cuttings in a rooting hormonal powder and bury it at a depth of 5 cm. The chosen pot or container should be filled with moist peat and river sand.

A very good soil, specially prepared for seeding and seeding, composed of peat and river sand, you can find it here:

Soil for seeding and seeding bag 80Lt

As soon as you have buried our semi-woody cuttings, we proceed by watering them. The pots or containers containing the cuttings, should be covered for the first period, with a transparent cloth, lids or you can choose the usual plastic bottle, away from direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist. By the following spring, the remaining plants will have developed a good root system. By autumn they will be large enough to be transplanted.

Woody Cutting

Woody cuttings, compared to herbaceous and semi-woody cuttings, can be rooted directly outdoors instead of in pots. The period in which it can be done is in autumn, when the plants enter the dormancy period. The woody cuttings are mainly taken from deciduous shrubs, but also from some evergreens.

How to Do it

The woody cuttings are to be taken from the ripe branches of the current season, and are to be cut just over a knot, with a length of 25-30 cm. If the chosen shrub is deciduous, it will have to wait for the fall of all the leaves, if, on the contrary, it is an evergreen, cut the branch for the cutting, eliminate the leaves close to the cut. Now, let’s choose a point of our garden where to cultivate them, and let’s dig a V-shaped groove, with a vertical side. Fill the bottom with peat and river sand to improve drainage and insert the cuttings, burying them for half of their length. Keep 10 cm away from each other. Cover and recompact the ground.

Wood cuttings rooted in autumn will take up to a year to form the root system. In the autumn of the following year, they can be taken for planting.

The importance of rooting dust.