How to take a cutting from a plant

Garden health, Help for Brown Thumbs

You’ve seen a plant or flower in your friend’s garden and thought, I’d love to grow that in my own garden! So you take a pair of scissors and (with your friend’s permission) you lop off a bit of said plant, take it home, plant it and wait for your plant to flourish.

Unfortunately, though, taking a cutting and growing a plant from it isn’t that straightforward, and a lot of the time your cutting doesn’t actually amount to anything.

Here are some steps for you to follow to ensure your cuttings stand the best chance of surviving:

1. Get everything you’re going to need together

You’re going to need:

  • A healthy donor plant
  • A pair of secateurs, scissors, loppers or snips
  • A growing medium
  • Some rooting hormone

2. Make the cut

Making the cut is actually the most important part, so if you only remember one of these steps, make sure it’s this one.

Take a piece of the plant around 10cm long and make the cut at a 45 degree angle so it’s got a sharp tip. Now remove the majority of your cutting’s lower leaves and cut a few of the larger leaves in half to reduce water loss – something you need to do to give your cutting a fighting chance.

3. Add some rooting hormone

Dip your freshly cut cutting into the rooting hormone so a nice amount is left on the cut end.

4. Plant it in your medium

Get your growing medium (soil, sand, gravel, potting mix or water) and stick your cutting into it far enough so that it’s covered a few cm above the cut.

5. Water it regularly

The growing medium immediately around your cutting needs to be kept moist, but not so wet that it starts to rot. Use your finger to gauge the moistness of the medium before you add more water each time.

6. Await the results

Now it’s a waiting game to see if you’ve done enough for your cutting to grow roots and thrive. They don’t always, so don’t be disappointed if you need several attempts before your successful.

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