Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Free plants from cuttings

by Sarah - December 13th, 2011.
Filed under: Free stuff.

Always ask before taking cuttings from other people’s gardens. Very few people would say no – unless of course the plant is struggling to grow in which case people cutting bits off it won’t help it.

There are different sorts of cuttings to take. New growth and older more woody growth. There are some plants that just won’t grow from cuttings too.
The easiest thing to do though is to just try it!
You could look up each plant’s particular requirements for rooting cuttings. There are some plants that require you to make the cutting grow roots before you remove it from the plant. This you do by wrapping part of the stem with moss and waiting until roots have formed.
If you take a soft stem cutting then it’s worth just trying it in a glass of water or straight into soil. If you’ve taken several cuttings you could try each and see which gets best results. If a plant doesn’t take then was it the wrong time of year? Some prefer to grow from cuttings in the spring. It’s very much trial and error too in terms of temperature – but generally I’ve found a windowsill or in the greenhouse work really well for most things.
There are some things you can grow from root cuttings – slicing up the root into sections and putting them in a pot.
If you want to plant roots up the right way then cut them level on the upper bit but slope down the bottom end so you can put them in the right way.
There are some plants that don’t need any encouragement to grow and grow – things like mint, dandelions and couch grass.
With a little practice you should be able to get cuttings to grow from all sorts of things.
One of the most interesting experiments I did last year was sticking tomato side shoots into a pot of compost! They grew very happily and provided me with mini tomato plants. Perfect use of what would otherwise be thrown away.

By asking neighbours for cuttings of plants you can increase the number of plants you have and sometimes you’ll get talking to people who are generous with their plants and knowledge! It’s nice to have local gardening friends and sometimes they’re easier to find than you think! People with interesting plants in their garden are often keen gardeners and happy to talk about what they have grown.
If someone says no to letting you have a cutting of a plant, then respect their decision. It’d be wrong to sneak back at 2am with your cutters!
If you don’t mind waiting for plants to grow then starting them off from cuttings is a great money saving hint.
Some plants are easier than others and some will be tricky, but just try it! What have you got to lose?
Put some perlite into a pot of compost to make it lighter so there’s less soggy soil around the cutting. You can also water regularly just let it drain too.
You’d be surprised what you can get cuttings from – the packets of cut rosemary you can buy in supermarkets have provided me with two plants recently. They’re growing away on my windowsill ready to be planted out next spring.
These were just ready cut stems that I stuck into a small vase until they’d rooted and then potted on.
It’s amazing to think just how many plants you could grow from cuttings. If you do manage to grow plenty of plants they why not share them with your gardening friends too?