By Jennifer Poindexter
QUESTION: How do you take green cuttings? I was hoping to get some from my neighbor and I don’t want to harm her plant, but I definitely want my cutting to live! – Alice P
ANSWER: Green cuttings are cuttings removed from an herbaceous plant. This type of cutting is used in propagating small, non-woody plants and herbs.
It’s common to use green cuttings when propagating annuals, houseplants, and other leafy, soft plants. Now that you understand what a green cutting is, let’s discuss how to utilize them properly:
1. Remove the Green Cuttings
Green cuttings come from areas of new growth of a plant. Remove an area of new growth that’s approximately an inch long. Ensure each cutting is taken right above a node.
Once you have your cuttings, remove the leaves at the bottom, and slice each cutting right beneath the bottom node at an angle to expose more area for roots to develop.
The cuttings should not have blooms on them. If they do, remove any blooms at this stage of the process.
2. Root the Green Cuttings in Water
You must decide if you wish to root the cuttings in soil or water. Should you choose water, place the cutting(s) in a glass jar after dipping them in rooting hormone.
Fill the jar with water but be sure the cuttings aren’t fully submerged. Place the jar in a sunny location with indirect, bright light.
Leave the cuttings for approximately one month. At this point, they should be developing roots. Once roots are fully formed, you must transition the cuttings from water to soil by following the steps provided below.
Ensure you change the water in the jar each week as you wait for the cuttings to form roots.
3. Root the Green Cuttings in Soil
After you’ve prepared the cuttings, dip them into rooting hormone unless you rooted them in water. If so, you’ve already utilized the rooting hormone and won’t need it again. Be sure to shake off any excess rooting hormone, and fill a pot with well-draining soil.
Select a planter based upon the number of green cuttings you wish to grow. For instance, if you’d like to start six cuttings, you should plant in a six-inch pot.
Stick the cuttings into the soil. Once they’re planted it’s time to learn how to care for the cuttings to encourage them to develop strong root systems.
4. Care for the Green Cuttings
When your cuttings are planted, be sure to keep the soil consistently damp. You may wrap the container in plastic to create a greenhouse effect. This should help keep the humidity up around the plants as this is an important aspect of propagation.
Be sure to check the soil daily. It should never become soggy but shouldn’t be dry either. The container should be stored in a warm location such as a greenhouse or sunny window.
It should take approximately one month for the plants to develop roots, if you didn’t start the cuttings in water. If you started the cuttings in water, they’ll need a month or two to develop strong enough roots to be ready for transplant.
The plants, regardless of how they were rooted, should be ready for transplant to their permanent growing locations by months two or three.
You now understand how to propagate a plant from a green cutting and which plants this technique applies to.
Use these tips to begin propagating plants around your home. Not only does this allow you to care for a plant all the way through its life, but it can also be a money-saver as well.