Propagating plants is a relatively easy and definitely inexpensive way to reproduce more plants from plants you already have. You may also have a friend that has a cool plant you’d like to clone. Basically, it IS cloning because you have a genetically identical plant to the plant you take the cuttings from.
There are many different ways to propagate a plant; from grafting, to layering, or dividing. I have done a bit of layering by accident. Layering is when you take the limb of a plant and bend a section of it down to where it’s in the dirt, and roots form from there without being removed from the plant. Then once they have a good root system going , you can transplant the plant elsewhere or pot it up. This is something that happens alot with Hydrangeas on their own.
Today’s post is about cuttings. Specifically cuttings from my Cigar Plant, which I’ve had lots of success with this overly easy method. I have done some other plants like a Hydrangea and a Firespike. Some plant are easier than others, so I pick the easy ones. I have a video of this that you can watch here.
Let’s get Started !
The first thing you want to do is get your things together before you start taking cuttings. Sometimes you may be able to put them in a bucket of water or something for a while but I’ve always had the best luck getting them right into a planting medium where they’re not moving around and they are somewhat protected.
By “things”, I mean get your containers , planting medium, rooting hormone (if you use it, I did not for this tutorial), and some good sharp pruning shears. For a container, I just use old pots from the things I’ve bought from the nursery or from vegetable seedlings.
For your rooting medium, you want something soil-less that drains well but will hold moisture for a while. You should use a soil-less mixture because even the healthiest of soils are prone to carry harmful bacteria or fungi. I just use what they call “soil conditioner”. It’s ground up bark, which is great for drainage. Also don’t worry about any type of fertilizer because -no roots!! …yet…
Once in your container, soak this stuff down till its running out the bottom. This settles it and gets the big air pockets out and also compacts it a bit so the cuttings can be secure.
Here’s the part most people leave out: Take your cuttings just below a leaf node ! This is where most plants will form roots. I also like to scratch away a spot on the stem too, sometimes roots will form there.
Here’s what your cutting should look like! About 5 inches long, and rigid.
Just tear off the leaves at the bottom. The more leaves you leave on, it makes it lose moisture easier and you won’t be as successful. These Cuphea are not too fragile and I usually leave a bunch of leaves on them and they seem to do okay. You want enough stem to stick down in the dirt and support whats upstairs.
Now, waller a hole in your medium big enough to stick the cutting in. I have been using this fiberglass rod , about the size of a pencil , it works great! You can do this with your finger or whatever you want, I just prefer a tool because its alot cleaner and uniform.
Okay, so now you’re about done. Place your cuttings in the hole, and make sure they’re deep enough.
Once they’re in the hole, you want to compact the medium around the base of the stem and make sure it’s secure and tight. You don’t want it wiggling around because once the roots start , they are super fragile and can be easily broken
Once they’re all packed in, I just move them to a shaded spot underneath a big viburnum bush I have, and keep an eye on them to make sure the bark is moist. These particular plants do okay with getting a few hours of sun in the morning but will dry out quick if left too long. They will root just fine in full shade though.
That’s how I root all my Cigar Plants ! I have rooted about 100 plants off this one bush and can do many more. It is so weird how I could never seem to get anything to root, now I can root just about anything using this method. I think my problem before was drainage and letting them dry out.
You can even put these inside a big plastic box to keep it humid, but the humid weather down here seems to be the perfect environment for these particular plants to do so well.