After the interest folks showed in my last post on propagating Elder cuttings, I thought I'd expand it a bit into a short series of propagation tips. Here's the first!
Some plant species are very very easy to propagate – they barely need any help. The technique shown here works for a wide range of woody stemmed plants including Grapes and Devil’s Claw (which a lot of folks use as a rootstock for other Solanums) it’s especially good for harder stemmed members of the Solanum Family such as Tamarillo, Kangaroo Apple and Eggplants.
Take a cutting about 10 cm long.
Make sure the cut is clean
All you need to do us cut lengths of older stem about 1 cm thick and 10 cm long. Make sure the cut is clean and there are no bits hanging off. If there are any leaves, remove all except for the top two. Cut these in half.
You do this so that the leaves can continue to photosynthesise and provide a little energy to the cutting. Cutting them in half reduces the amount of moisture that is lost to evaporation. You can remove the leaves entirely, but I like to give the potential new plant a boost.
Honey is the magic ingredient!
Give the newly cut end a rinse in clean water and dip it in honey. Yes, honey!
Honey is a great healer for plants as well as people, it is antimicrobial and will help protect the wound from bacterial and fungal attack until it heals. It also promotes growth.
All that you have to do is dip the cutting in the honey so that the wound and the lower centimetre is coated. Easy!
Make a hole for the cutting in damp potting mix and place the honey coated end into it.
Make a hole for the cutting in damp potting mix and place the honey coated end into it, then firm up the potting mix around it. Don’t water for a couple of days so that you don’t wash off the honey while it’s doing its job
Keep the potting mix damp but not wet. It may take a couple of weeks for roots to grow, it depends on the time of year and the type of plant.
Place them in a sheltered spot.
Place the container with the cuttings into a greenhouse or put it into a sheltered spot. I like to use these deep plastic tubs that help keep a little extra humidity in to stop the cuttings from drying out. That’s a trick I learned from Joe at Joe’s Connected Gardens.
In a couple of weeks, the majority of your cuttings will have grown roots and will be ready to transplant into pots or your garden.