UACES Facebook Cuttings
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December 2014

QuestionMy daughter in Ward has a small azalea plant that was blooming up until the hard frost.  How could I get a cutting from this plant so I could try and grow one myself?  It is a lovely plant, and being small would work very well at my place.


AnswerAzaleas are easy to propagate from cuttings.  The best time to propagate is early summer, when the new growth has had a chance to become a bit stronger, but before it turns totally woody.  However, I have used pieces I was pruning off in late spring, and they rooted quite nicely too.  The easiest way for home gardeners is to create a greenhouse environment by putting the cuttings in moist sterile potting mix in a container and covering the whole thing in clear plastic.  Put this in a shady spot in the yard, and they are typically rooted in 3-4 weeks.


December 2012

QuestionI took stems from an angel wing begonia and placed them in water and put them in sunlight on the window sill. As I hope, white thread-like roots have now developed. What do I do now? The obvious answer seems potting soil, but I am not sure. Please advise.


AnswerAngel wing begonias root readily, and while many gardeners like to watch the roots develop in water, I always prefer to root them in soil. That being said, you need to plant yours in soil now. If there are a lot of roots, don’t cram them down in the potting soil, but lightly spread them out and fill in with fresh soil. Water well but don’t keep the soil too wet. Angel wing begonias will grow tall and leggy if you don’t pinch out the centers occasionally to get bushiness. When you do pinch out the center, you have a new start for another plant.

August 2012

QuestionI have an angel trumpet that I rooted from a cutting. When and how much do I cut it back in the fall? Is there a special way I need to cut it to make cuttings?


AnswerAngel trumpet is the common name for Brugmansia and Datura. Brugmansia is less winter hardy than Datura which is hardy statewide. If you live in central Arkansas, you can plant the Brugmansia in the ground and let it die to the ground in the fall and hopefully come back next spring. Or you can leave it in the container and move the pot inside and use as a houseplant, put in a greenhouse if you have access to one, or store it in the garage for winter protection. If the plant is protected and doesn’t die to the ground, it will become a larger plant next season and bloom earlier. It can be left whole or cut back. If planted in the ground, it will freeze to the ground with a killing frost, but you can take cuttings before that occurs. If you do cut it back, it roots readily –make the cuttings 3-4 inches in length.

July 2012

QuestionWhen is the best time to take a cutting from a crape myrtle tree to start a new plant?


AnswerCrape myrtles can be rooted from cuttings taken from late May through mid July. The key is to take semi-hardwood cuttings—the new growth that has started to harden off a bit. The cuttings should be around 3-5 inches in length and contain no flowers or seed heads.

July 2012

QuestionI have an angel trumpet that I rooted from a cutting. When and how much do I cut it back in the fall? Is there a special way I need to cut it to make cuttings?


AnswerAngel trumpet is a common name for both brugmansia and datura. Datura’s are much more winter hardy in Arkansas than brugmansia, but even those have started overwintering from central Arkansas south. Typically, if they are planted in the ground, they will die completely to the ground with a killing frost and emerge the following spring. If you want to move the plant indoors for the winter to keep a larger plant, then prune only as needed for size constraint. They root quite easily, so if you do cut them back, you can easily root what you have, cutting them into 4 inch cuttings.

June 2012

QuestionIs it possible to take cuttings from a hydrangea and start new in another location? I want to bring some memories of a loved one to my home.


AnswerHydrangeas root quite easily. Make sure there are no flowers on the cuttings you are trying to root, but take tip cuttings no more than 3-4 inches in length and put them in moist, sterile potting soil. I like to root inside a large plastic bag, so the humidity stays high, but if you do this, make sure they are not getting any direct sunlight. If you know the person who has the original plant, another easy method is to layer a low branch of the plant in the soil. This method allows the plant to root while it is still attached. Once roots have formed, you can cut and replant.

March 2012

QuestionA neighbor had two beautiful hibiscus plants on her front porch last year, took them in for the winter and they were still blooming in Dec. and into Jan. She would be happy to give me a couple cuttings to start my own this spring. But neither she nor I know when, how and where on the plant to do this. Suggestions would be much appreciated.


AnswerYou can root cuttings, and she needs to be pruning them back by at least 1/3 – ½ anyway. Remember that tropical hibiscus plants bloom on the new growth, so to encourage plenty of new growth, they should be pruned annually before moving outdoors. The cuttings you are hoping to root should have no flower buds or spent flowers on them. They should be three to four inches in length. Strip off any leaves on the base of the cutting. Dip the cutting in a rooting hormone such as rootone or dip and grow. Fill a 4-6 inch pot with fresh, sterile potting soil and put up to 10 cuttings in the pot. Moisten the soil to the consistency of a rung out sponge. Then seal the pot and all inside a clear plastic bag and put under a shade tree. Avoid direct sunlight or you will cook the cuttings. In this “miniature greenhouse” in about 6-8 weeks you should have rooted cuttings which can then be repotted into their own container and grown all summer.

November 2010

QuestionI have a crape myrtle tree that has many shoots or suckers growing around the trunk. Can I dig one up and replant it and expect it to grow? Do I need to do anything to it?


AnswerMany of the suckers on your crape myrtles will be devoid of roots as they are attached to the mother plant. You can root these shoots, but you could not take them off the plants now and leave them outdoors. They would not survive the winter. You could try rooting them inside in a container with potting soil. Crape myrtles root rather easily from cuttings taken June – August. I find it easiest when rooting cuttings without a greenhouse, to take multiple cuttings—4- 6 inches in length and dip them in a rooting hormone, then put them in sterile moist potting soil. Put pot plus cuttings inside a clear plastic bag, seal that up and put it in a bright location, without direct sunlight. This will create a miniature greenhouse, with constant moisture and humidity and should aid in germination. The woodier the cutting the longer it will take to root.

July 2010

QuestionI have a smoke bush and would like to start a couple more from cuttings. How would I do that?


AnswerTake cuttings now and see what happens. Smoke tree is not the easiest plant to root. We like to take cuttings from woody plants in mid June through July. The new growth has had a chance to build some stability but isn't totally woody yet. Cuttings should be between 3-6 inches in length. I would suggest getting a large pot and filling it with fresh, sterile potting soil or peat moss. Take twice as many cuttings as you want to root. Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone--Rootone, Dip'n Grow or similar product, and then put the cuttings inside the container and put pot and all inside a clear plastic bag. Put the bag in the shade and leave it alone. The humidity and moisture levels should stay high. After 8 weeks, check the cuttings to see if they have rooted. They will need to be kept in the container all winter and planted next spring, but the plastic bag can come off if they are rooted. Good Luck.

April 2007

QuestionI have a favorite African violet which I rescued from death in a super market years ago. The flowers are a lovely shade of pink, and are frilly around the edges, although they are single. It was a named variety, but I have always just called it "Frilly." As the old plant, which was second generation through leaf propagation, was appearing pretty elderly, I decided to pick another leaf, and grow another plant. I did the usual, putting the stem through a piece of aluminum foil into a glass of water, and setting it on the north windowsill. In time, the stem grew roots, and I potted it. Always before, one plant has grown from this arrangement. In this case, there were nine or ten! I separated and potted them. The "alpha pup," so to speak, began to bloom, and the blooms were just like those of the mother plant, of course. So are those of most of the others. But now, another of the other "pups" is blooming, and the blooms are very different. They are a much paler pink, close to white, with a touch of pink at the centers, and they are double! They have a second set of frilly petioles inside the first, in smaller size. They are very pretty, and I am pleased, but would like to know what happened. Is this a sport? Have you ever heard of a violet leaf having a whole litter like this? What gives?


AnswerTypically when we think of propagating a plant from a cutting, such as the leaf of an African violet, we think we are vegetatively propagating the plant, so we should get the exact same plant when it grows—all of the cells will have the same genetic make-up as the mother plant. . Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen with African violets. Some African violets are “chimeras”. That means that these plants have developed plant tissues where the individual cells are genetically different. Because of this, plants produced from leaf cuttings often are not identical to the plant from which the cutting were taken. The plants are considered “unstable”, meaning they won’t breed true. It is often the case with plants containing variegated leaves, two-tone flowers or those with frilly edges. So enjoy the diversity, and if you want to propagate the mother plant and guarantee the same plant, you must use divisions of the crown.


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