Summer has arrived, your garden is looking gorgeous, but soon the heat will see your wonderful display start to wilt. So whip out your secateurs and take some cuttings of much-loved shrubs and perennials to build up your stock and create replacement plants. Think about looking in family, friends’ and neighbours’ gardens too – and swap cuttings so you can all enjoy a new look.
- Walk around your garden a day ahead, and make a list of plants that you want to propagate – at this time of year, pelargonium, fuchsia, lavender, plectranthus and many more will do well. Give these chosen plants a deep drink, so plants are well hydrated.
- Get going early in the morning, so the cutting material is plump with moisture. Choose firm, straight cuttings about 10cm long, with at least three nodes (points on the stem where leaves emerge). Snip cleanly, remove all leaves except for two near the tip, and trim cuttings just below the bottom node.
- Fill a clean 15-20cm pot with an equal blend of good quality potting mix, coarse sand and perlite (or good quality propagating mix), and gently push each cutting into the mix so at least one node is covered. It is okay to put several cuttings in one pot. Label the pot. Place in a shady spot in the garden, water gently then cover it with a plastic bag to create a humid environment. Use chopsticks or bent wire to keep the bag away from the cuttings. Make sure the potting mix stays moist, but don’t over water.
- Once cuttings have formed roots and begun to grow new leaves or shoots, pot into individual containers to grow on for a few more weeks. Transfer into the ground in autumn if you live in a warm region, or keep in pots over winter if you live further south, for planting out in spring.
Grab the January issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine for pages of practical advice and lists of jobs to tackle in your garden this month.