There are whole books on the subject of taking cuttings. Whole books about something that is in reality an incredibly easy thing to do. Equally baffling is the fact that most advice is also ridiculously overly-complicated and exacting. No wonder then that many people choose to buy in any extra plants needed, rather than giving it a go themselves.
It’s such a shame as actually, this is all you really need to know:
Hardwood is wood that is, er, hard and likes to be cut after its leaves have fallen in autumn. So this includes soft fruit bushes like all the berries, climbers like jasmine and trees mainly. Anything evergreen works well this time of year also.
Softwood is a bit, yes you’ve guessed it, soft. It prefers to have its cuttings taken in warmer conditions, so spring onwards when it’s lush and growing away. This softer gang includes herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme as well as roses and shrubs.
You just need to apply some common sense such as only taking cuttings from a healthy looking stem or branch. Then you can ignore all this business about cutting angles or lengths and just snip away. As for hormone rooting powder – forget it. I’ve never used it and it hasn’t mattered a jot.
I’ve experimented with different ways of doing this over the years and found that in a high majority of cases if you randomly stick the cuttings in the ground, they will root and grow. It really is that simple and it’s such a rewarding way to increase your stock. Soft fruit bushes and herbs are especially easy to work with and now is actually a great time to do so with the likes of rosemary, thyme, sage and lavender…
This article first appeared in my monthly column in Country Smallholding Magazine