Everything starts shooting in the spring garden. And savvy gardeners can take advantage of this by propagating softwood cuttings!
Propagating softwood cuttings is a great way to get plants for free. And, when you propagate softwood abundance in spring you will have plenty of little plants ready to gift on come Christmas.
You can try propagating from cuttings with most perennial plants. And because spring means lots of new shoots, this is a great time to experiment! But some easy plants to get started with are herbs like rosemary, sage, lavendar and tarragon. So, to propagate softwood you just need a parent plant you wish to clone, your bare hands, some soil and a rooting hormone.
How to start propagating softwood cuttings
Carefully break off a piece of new growth (softwood) off parent plant. Pull a little as you do so to get a little “tail” of bark and cambium along one side. This is where the new baby roots will begin to grow.
Remove most of the leaves at the base of the stem. Leave only one or two leaves for plants with larger leaves like sage, or a small handful at the tip for plants with smaller leaves like rosemary. This is because plants lose water from their leaves. And, given your new cutting won’t have any roots to suck up more you need to minimise water loss at this early stage.
Dip the tip of your cutting in a rooting hormone. This can be bought at any gardening centre in powder or liquid form. Or, try a natural homemade alternative like honey or willow water. Plants in spring are pumping with auxin (the plant hormone that encourages growth and root production), so your cutting may even strike if you don’t have this on hand.
Plant your cutting in potting mix. Take a few cuttings of each plant as not all will strike roots. Keep the cutting well watered and sheltered from any extremities in weather. In a month or so it should have begun to establish a root system and be ready to get planted in the big wide world.
How did you go propagating softwood cuttings? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear about any new plants you’ve had success with, or any other clever tips you might have for propagating from cuttings.