Expand Your Garden Easily with Schools (Part 1)

Spring is one of the best times of the year to multiply our plants through cuttings and thus fill in those empty corners that remain or have been emerging in our garden. Our Garden Guide blogger teaches us how to do it and shows us your favorite plants to reproduce in this way.

Getting new plants from cuttings is a natural, fast, and economical way to increase our collection in the garden. A cutting is nothing more than a portion of the stem or branch of a plant that is introduced into the ground to reproduce it, and that is capable of taking root. Not all plant species are capable of doing so, but if we get it to grow, it will also grow faster than a seedling obtained from the seed. For example, if you wanted to get a wisteria from seeds, it would take about ten years to see it bloom for the first time. However, the same plant obtained from a cut will show its first flowers in two or three years.

Another advantage of the multiplication by cuttings (asexual reproduction) is that it guarantees us that the new plant will be equal to the original one, an exact clone. While in the case of seeds (sexual reproduction) and due to genetic factors, we are not sure that the same characters as the mother plant were shown. Besides, it is interesting to know that there are sterile plants and that although they produce seeds, they are not viable. This is the case of some natural hybrids, and most of those obtained artificially, so other methods, including cuttings, can only propagate these plants.

Finally, say that it is a technique that is very profitable. If you have friends gardeners, you can exchange cuttings with them, and you can also get several plants from one, the mother plant is not in danger because you cut some stems whenever you do it carefully. It is also an excellent resource, for example, when many plants are needed to form a hedge or fill a flowerbed. Grasses and herbs multiply well by cuttings, but they are not the only ones, many trees, and shrubs too. We, now in spring, use them mainly to repopulate the bald grass from cuttings that we take from the most populated areas.

HOW AND When to prepare cuttings

The best time to make and plant cuttings are in spring and autumn, coinciding with the plant growth phase. The mild temperatures and humidity of these stations also allow the cuttings to have more time to produce roots before drying. It is improbable to succeed in summer because of excessive heat, or in winter, because plants do not grow.

Cutting is an easy and reasonably quick task, but you have to be meticulous and clean to ensure the highest possible success. Before you start, you should have prepared:

• Container: a small pot or container with a drain hole

• Substrate: experts recommend black peat because it retains moisture well, but it serves a universal substrate if it is properly hydrated

• Scissors: ideally pruning shears that are well cleaned

• Rooting hormones: it is a product that helps root formation, but is optional

There may be slight differences in how to proceed, but then we explain the technique that we follow to prepare the cuttings.

• Choose a piece of branch with at least four buds, two of them will be buried in the substrate and the other two above the surface. Hidden buds will give rise to roots; those that remain in the air will produce new stems.

• Remove all the leaves, leaving only a couple of them at the top. A couple of leaves are enough for the plant to breathe without losing too much water.

• Enter the soil in the pot without squeezing it too much. Click with a stick in the center to open a small hole deep enough to fit the cutting.

• Impregnate with the rooting product (if you have decided to use it) the bottom of the cutting and insert it into the hole until the two lower buds are buried.

• Press the soil around the stem so that the cutting is held and then water it gently.

• Leave the pot with the cuttings in a shady place and keep it moist for at least two weeks. In that period, you will see if the new plant thrives or not and, if all goes well, continues with regular watering as you would with a newly purchased plant.

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