I have a love for native vegetation, which is plants, trees and shrubs that grow naturally in the wild in your part of the world. We’ve been lovingly planting and tending some special native shrubs in our current garden for 10 years. But now we are considering moving.
Luckily I’ve got a solution. Grow new shrubs with cuttings! It’s fun and easy. A little messy but who doesn’t love a little dirt under their fingernails? Best of all it’s a cost effective way to plant a new garden.
The best time to propagate shrubs is before they leaf out in the spring. And where I live that’s right now. So let’s get busy.
Here’s what you need-
Rooting hormone, usually found at garden centres or seed supply shops, and a sharp pair of clippers, which, if we’re are being technical we should call secateurs.
You’ll also need soil and some kind of pots. Fill pots will soil and water well. Do not leave a 4 year old watering with the hose while you go inside to wash your hands to take a picture. If you do, fill pots with more soil.
Pots should be wet but not puddles. I emptied out a small lake. The white tray is impermeable. If you are keeping your pots outside it’s probably not needed but mine are inside and I’m not a fan of muddy water pooling on my window sill.
Once your pots and soil are all set, you need some plant material. This method works best for woody shrubs and trees. It’s not a great choice for perennials or annuals. These pictures are of my Nannyberry shrub, which I grew from a cutting many years ago. I am very attached to it.
Cut a few branches.
Then cut into 2 inch, or so, lengths with each length having a growing tip. That means a little bud that will become a leaf.
Dip your cutting into the root hormone. This one is a gel but sometimes it’s a powder, both work well.
Along with the Nannyberry, Redbud and Dogwood I planted Ninebark, Climbing Hydrangea, Black Lace Elderberry and a Tinkerbell Lilac. Once planted put them in a sunny protected location and keep the soil moist. Best to use a spray bottle or a very gentle watering can. Do your best not to move the cutting around.
Then wait like an expectant parent, to see if your little cuttings will take root and flourish.
OK, you caught me. Lilacs and Hydrangeas aren’t native plants but I still didn’t want to leave them behind.
I also planted some raspberry cuttings. I used the same method but I am near certain that they would grow without the rooting hormone. These are black raspberries, kind of special and, again, I want to take them with me.
Once your cuttings are well tended it’s time to clean up. Hopefully your helpers didn’t make such a mess.
Disclosure: After I did all this cutting and propagating I said to my husband “I probably should of researched the best way to cut the branches” He responded “Well, we took a course and the textbook is upstairs.” Me again “We have a propagation textbook?” Him “Uh ya. Don’t you remember the plant propagation class we took?” I stare vacantly as he goes upstairs and produces said textbook. Turns out he was right, I’ve studied plant propagation and I have the textbook to prove it.
So I’m just going to go ahead and say- I knew exactly what I was doing the whole time, I’m practically an expert.