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Horticulture 1000
HT1092 - Plant propagation 2 - Softwood cuttings
Session 4 - Softwood cuttings
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Softwood cuttings

These are at the plant's tip where new growth is taking place. Herbaceous softwood cuttings are taken from the new spring growth of low growing long-lived (perennial) plants that die down in winter.

You can follow these instructions to take and plant your own softwood cuttings if you have the opportunity in spring (September–November).

You will need:

Follow these steps:

  1. Take the cuttings
  • Choose a parent plant with soft healthy stems at the tips of the branches or the new growth of a herbaceous perennial (such as a chrysanthemum). Your plant may be different from the above examples. Contact your teacher if you are unsure about what to choose.
  • Cut five soft shoots from the parent plant. Each cutting should be 5–8cm long.
  1. Prepare your cuttings
Preparing a cutting from a geranium
  1. Plant your cuttings
Softwood cutting from a geranium

Softwood cutting from a geranium

  1. Create a warm humid environment
Create a warm humid environment
  • Put the container in the plastic bag.
  • Loosely close the top of the bag with a rubber band.
  • Put the container in a warm, well-lit place but not in full sun.

Record your progress in your diary If you make softwood cuttings record how successful you were in your diary.

Complete Activity 4A in your workbook

Key points   Key points

To make softwood cuttings successfully:

  • take the cuttings from healthy parent plants at the most suitable time of the year spring/early summer
  • treat the base of the cutting with rooting hormone
  • use a growing mix which has good drainage and retains some water. This must be clean and free from pests and diseases
  • take cuttings from soft, new growth. They lose water easily and are vulnerable to disease
  • cuttings need a warm, high humidity environment.

What's next?

Go to: 5 Semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings.

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