Saturday, 2 May 2020

BROWNHILL BEAUTY - and taking cuttings

Brownhill House Garden - Broom Brownhill Beauty

Dear Blogger

WE have got just 4 plants of a BROOM bred from seed which we are calling


Most of the shrubs, and some perennials, we have offered for sale at Brownhill House have been propagated by cuttings so take a leaf out of  TheThree Growbags and have a go yourself.

Softwood cuttings for all

You can cut off some shoots in your perennials to encourage them to flower longer and you can use some of those choppings to make new plants – how cool is that?! Bits of new growth taken off perennials, as well as a load of other plants like fuchsias, Lavatera, buddleias, hydrangeas, pelargoniums, Physocarpus, Euonymus, Sambucus (elder), penstemons, all sorts of perennial herbs, bedding plants……. can be used as softwood cuttings. Since you already have the plant, this is a free, and easy, way of making new plants to increase your stock or give away to friends.

You just need to go out early in the morning and collect some shoots about 4? (10 cm) long – they should be full of sap at that time. Try to cut just below a pair of leaves if possible. Pop them into a plastic bag straight away – it is very important that they don't dry out at all. 

Stick your cuttings in a glass of water in the fridge if you can't deal with them immediately. As soon as you can, fill some pots with compost to which you've added some grit or vermiculite if you have it – but don't worry if you haven't; this kind of cutting is actually quite forgiving, and remember you've lost nothing even if none of your cuttings work!

Take off the lower leaves of each cutting, and pinch out the soft tip. If you happen to have some hormone rooting powder or liquid, this would be to time to dip your cutting in that. Make holes (3-6, depending on the size of the pot) round the edge of your pot of compost with a pencil, and put your cuttings in the holes with the lowest pair of remaining leaves just above the surface. Water and label the pot then put it into a closed propagator box, or just fix a clear plastic bag over it with a rubber band. This is to keep the humidity round the shoots as high as you can, but take off the bag twice a week for a few minutes – you don't want the humidity to be so high that the stems start to rot! Leave it in a warm place but not roasting sunlight for your cuttings to root, and keep the compost moist.

Roger & I cut the leaves in half, so the plant does not have to work hard looking after them rather than making roots.

You'll know your adventure has worked if you start to see some signs of new growth on the shoots in 2-4 weeks. Slowly increase the time your cuttings spend out of the propagator/plastic bag to 'harden' them up, before moving each plant to its individual pot for growing on and eventually planting out.

Sage cutting
Here's one I did earlier! A sage shoot that I cut off 4 weeks ago, and is now growing on happily in its own pot.

Honestly, I urge you to try it, even if you have never done anything like this before. It is a total thrill when a random piece of stem suddenly morphs into a whole new plant!