Softwood Cuttings

Step 1: Preparation

You will need:

  • Scissors, secateurs, or a sharp knife
  • Compost
  • Pots
  • Pencil
  • Labels
  • Optional: Rooting hormone

Step 2: Taking Cuttings

Cut off a stem free from disease, pests or damage.

Avoid taking cuttings of flowering material.
Do not take so much material from the original plant that it will cause stress.

If you’re looking for something relatively easy, mints root readily. Look for a square stem.

When you’ve taken your cutting place it in water to stop it drying out.

Step 3: Preparing the Cutting

Pinch off the lower leaves and cut the stem just below a node (leaf joint) at the bottom and a little bit above a node at the top to encourage side shoots. Larger leaves should be cut down to stop water loss from the cutting until it has a chance to develop roots to take up it’s own water.

Optional: Dip the base of the cutting in hormone rooting powder or liquid.

Step 4: Potting

Fill a pot with compost and tap it on a hard surface to ensure there are no large gaps. Gently press the compost down slightly. With a pencil or similar pointer create a hole for your cutting.

Insert the cutting into the hole so the majority of the stem is covered with compost, then gently firm the cuttings in so good contact is made with the compost.

Make sure to add a label with the name of the plant (scientific names are prefered), the date, and your name if multiple people are taking cuttings.

Step 5: Watering

Gently water the cuttings, making sure not to disrupt the compost too much. This will settle the compost so don’t be alarmed if the level in the pot drops.

Keep the compost moist but not soaking until new growth is observed. Too much water will encourage rot and mould, too little water and the cutting will dry out before it has a chance to develop roots.

Step 6: Wait

Try to keep your cutting out of direct sunlight as too much heat will dry it out. Bottom heat is good but not essential.

Continue watering your cuttings and checking on them regularly. Within a few weeks they should be rooting and producing new above-ground growth.