Propagation

A number of members have contacted me with the same question: when should I take cuttings? When they are there is the pat reply, but this does need a little explaining. Cuttings were considered by the older growers to be an autumn task, and indeed this is a good time, but then so is spring and early summer. Indeed I prefer the spring as the cuttings seem to root that much more quickly and the young plants get away without the check of winter. However I have to produce rather a lot of plants and so my outlook is rather different from those of you who are looking for a modest increase in your collections.

Thus my general advice would he go over your plants regularly. This is a good habit anyway as you can also spot early signs of disease or infestation. Looking into the centre of the plants, it is quite easy on most varieties to find some nice, green, turgid, non-flowering shoots coming from the base. Take them! Whatever method and medium you use for rooting should be followed. My only caveat here would be to avoid taking cuttings in hot dry spells as too much moisture can easily be lost, never to be regained. I should also add that there are a few varieties that are a little difficult.

I get a lot of questions about 'Irish Molly' and the lack of cutting material that it throws up, I have found that I need to take cuttings of this very early and most importantly, before it begins to flower. I find that it is also worth taking early cuttings from varieties such as 'Barbara', 'Alma' and all of the 'Woodlands'. I am sure that there are more, but as you grow and get to know your varieties so you will come to know just when the time is right.


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