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How Do You Take a Cutting?
A cutting is a ‘snippet’ of a particular part of a plant which you nurture until it produces new roots and ultimately new growth. Most garden plants, with a few exceptions, can be grown successfully from cuttings. These include trees, shrubs, climbers and perennials.
Cuttings from some plants, like roses, must be taken from hardwood. Fuchsias, geraniums and pelargoniums grow well from green or softwood cuttings, while other plants can be reproduced from leaf cuttings. The popular African violet is an easy candidate to grow from a leaf cutting. Choose young, healthy parts when taking a softwood or leaf cutting.
Before you head into the garden to take your cuttings, there are a few materials that you will need to purchase. Vermiculite is a rich volcanic mineral that gardeners use as a planting medium or to improve the condition of soil. It retains water very well and allows for good air circulation in the soil. Vermiculite can be mixed with peat. This provides the plant with sustained nutrients as the peat naturally breaks down in the medium over time. Also consider adding a quality water-retaining polymer to the medium. Polymer granules absorb water and swell but release the moisture back to the plant when it is needed. The addition of a polymer will help to prevent the medium from drying out. You will also need a bag of washed silica sand and rooting hormone, available from your local nursery.
It will take just over a fortnight to three weeks for your cuttings to take root. You can test how strong the roots are by gently tugging the plant upwards in the soil. A little resistance usually indicates that the roots have taken hold.
Taking a cutting
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