CORVALLIS, Ore. – Snipping some cuttings from the garden this time of year will produce your own private nursery of plants by spring.
Whether you plant the results of your “snip and stick” project or give them away, propagating by cuttings can be a rewarding process.
Although some sources of information can be intimidating, Neil Bell, a horticulturist for Oregon State University Extension Service, has good news.
“I do lots of them at home,” he said. “I don’t use a greenhouse or even bottom heat. What that means is that the average gardener can propagate their own plants with nothing more than a tray, a decent medium, a bit of rooting hormone and a place to keep them out of the way.”
Greenhouses are advantageous, but not necessary. Using bottom heat can help as well if you’ve got room in the house to set up a system. But Bell keeps his trays of cuttings outside in a sheltered area and has reasonable success.
Not all cuttings will “take” and produce roots, he said, but enough will to make it worth the attempt. Up to 100 to 125 cuttings can fit in one tray so, if you’ve never propagated by cuttings, try one or two trays and you’re bound to get some plants out of your efforts.
“There’s no need to complicate it,” he said. “Even if you end up with 10 percent rooting, you’ve succeeded and most of the time you can do far better.”
This list of possible plants to propagate from hardwood cuttings in October and November is long, but some common ones include rosemary, rhododendron, hydrangeas, flowering currant (Ribes), Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), mock orange (Philadelphus), redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea), rock rose (Cistus), manzanita (Arctostaphylos), Hebe, Cotoneaster, barberry (Berberis) and Pyracantha. If you grow half-hardy shrubs like salvia, cuttings taken now are great assurance against winter injury.
Bell’s recommendations for taking hardwood cuttings:
About the OSU Extension Service: The Oregon State University Extension Service shares research-based knowledge with people and communities in Oregon’s 36 counties. OSU Extension addresses issues that matter to urban and rural Oregonians. OSU Extension’s partnerships and programs contribute to a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future for Oregon.