Landscapers across Ireland use cuttings for growing in their gardens. A cutting is a small piece removed from a plant which with proper treatment can be induced to form roots and then grow into a specimen which is identical to the parent plant. Techniques have varied throughout time by landscapers. Some landscapers use stem tip cuttings. They are short pieces of non-flowering shoot tips which are ideally soft and green at the top and rather firm at the base. Some border perennials produce young shoots around the base of the main stems in spring – Lupins, Delphiniums and Paeonies are good examples. These shoots are pulled away or cut off at ground level with a sharp knife to provide basal cuttings. A third form of cutting is obtained by gently pulling off a side shoot from a main stem, making sure that some of the old stem remains. These heel cuttings usually root very easily for landscapers.
Landscapers have a few general rules to get the best type of cuttings.
- Landscapers should use a sterile rooting medium and plant the cuttings as soon as possible after severance from the parent plant
- Some form of cover will be required to ensure the cuttings are kept in a humid atmosphere, and do not be tempted to keep pulling at the cutting to see if it has rooted.
Some perennials can be propagated by planting sections of their fleshy roots – examples include Phlox, Anchusa and Oriental Poppy.
- Insert 1 in pieces vertically into seed and cutting compost for half their length, then cover them completely with a layer of sharp sand. Water in and transplant into individual pots when new top growth appears.