Cuttings are a method of vegetative propagation which allows the birth of a new plant from a fragment (twig, leaf, root, stem, bulb scale) taken from a mother plant.
Relatively easy to perform, the technique does not always achieve the desired result. To increase your chances of success, here are the mistakes to avoid when cutting a plant.
Cutting plants that are not suitable for it
Although many plants can be taken from cuttings, not all are suitable for this method of propagation.
For example, monocots generally take cuttings less well than dicots. Likewise, woody species take cuttings much more easily than herbaceous ones (although many herbaceous species can be taken from cuttings).
Cutting a plant anytime
Ignoring the schedule is a common mistake when cutting a plant. However, not all plants take cuttings at the same time:
- herbaceous cuttings are made between May and June;
- semi-woody cuttings are taken between July and September;
- hardwood cuttings occur from November to February;
- root cuttings are taken when the plant is dormant;
- Leaf cuttings can be made all year round, preferably in spring and early summer.
Using inappropriate tools for cuttings
The success of cutting a plant also depends on the tools used. To start, use perfectly clean tools and sharpen them so that they are very sharp.
The right cutting tools included:
- pruning shears or grafters;
- a sprayer and a fogger;
- cutting hormones;
- a container adapted to the technique used (frames, terrines, mini greenhouses, terracotta pots, buckets).
Select any part of the plant
A cutting can be made from stems, leaves or roots. Everything here depends on the plant you want to propagate by cuttings.
In all cases, choose stems, leaves or roots without any trace of disease. If it is a stem cutting, be careful that it does not bear flower buds, flowers or fruit. Otherwise, you will have to remove them.
Take one cutting at a time
Although cutting is quite easy to succeed, it happens that some cuttings do not take.
Making a bad cut
The way the cutting is cut significantly impacts its success.
- The cut of the stem must be clean and made at an angle, from bottom to top. Take a 10 to 15 cm stem just under a leaf, node or bud.
- The root taken must measure between 5 and 12 cm. Cut straight on the side near the stump, and at an angle on the other end.
Do not remove leaves on a stem cutting
If you take a stem or branch cutting, it is important to remove all the lower leaves. Only the leaves installed on the upper part of the stem are preserved. Also remember to remove the lower thorns if the stem has them.
Opting for the wrong cutting technique
Although the technique is very tempting due to its great simplicity, cuttings in water are not suitable for all plants:
- most stemmed houseplants can be taken from cuttings in water or soil;
- Outdoor plants, succulents and cacti are taken from cuttings in the ground, never in water.
Forgetting your cuttings in water for too long
Cutting in water allows you to obtain new roots very quickly. Although the method is quite easy, you must make sure to change the water regularly (you can place a piece of charcoal in it).
Using unsuitable potting soil
Have you opted for cuttings in the ground? Be careful to use a good quality substrate, both light and draining, otherwise your cutting is likely to never take.
You can use a mixture here:
- good loam and sand,
- or potting soil and perlite.
Forgetting to water your cuttings or overwatering them
Once your cuttings are placed in the ground, be sure to keep their substrate slightly moist, without ever making it soggy.
Not providing enough light to your cuttings
Lack of light can be fatal to your cuttings, regardless of the cutting technique used. Some plants are able to tolerate low light, but none of them survive in the complete absence of light
Place your cuttings stewed in direct sun
Certainly, light is essential for your cuttings. However, they should not be exposed to the hot sun! Particularly if you make a stewed cutting.
Avoiding common mistakes when cutting a plant always offers great rewards. With patience and care, your cuttings will soon grow into healthy, vigorous new plants.
With a little practice, you will be able to successfully take cuttings from any plant!