Propagate plants from cuttings in the fall to obtain new plants from those you already grow. In September, when fall season start, depending on where you live and which plants you grow, you might be propagating new plants from a range of plant species.
Plants to Propagate in Fall from Cuttings
Fall can be a busy time in any garden. This is a prime time for plant propagation. Taking cuttings from numerous plants at this time of year can help you obtain new plants for your garden or to pass them on or sell them without spending any money.
Early in fall, in around September, you can take semi-ripe cuttings, while later in fall, hardwood cuttings begin to be taken. Semi-ripe cuttings are woody at the base, with newer, softer material at the tip. Hardwood cuttings are entirely woody in texture.
In fall plants propagated from semi-ripe cuttings include:
- Many half-hardy herbaceous perennials and tender shrubs.
- Some climbers.
- A range of shrubby herbs.
And plants to propagate from hardwood cuttings include:
- Most deciduous shrubs.
- A wide range of fruit bushes.
- Several trees.
Some plants are easier to propagate in these ways than others. You will find out though that once you know how to propagate some plants from cuttings, you can undertake the same process with many more.
Plants to Propagate from Semi-Ripe Cuttings in Early Fall
Semi-ripe cuttings are taken from the growth of the present season. Take these cuttings any time between late summer and the middle of fall. Cuttings are best taken from healthy growth, and in the morning so they are more turgid and not as likely to wilt.
Here are some of the many plants from which you might take cuttings at this time of the year:
- Lemon verbena
- Magnolia grandiflora
- Rubus tricolor
- Salvias (including sage, rosemary)
Depending on the species you wish to propagate, you will select one of four different methods to take semi-ripe cuttings. You will either use the basic method, take heel cuttings, basal cuttings, or mallet cuttings.
To take semi-ripe cuttings of any of the above types, the key method is –
- Select healthy material from which to take the cuttings.
- Cut the shoots required in the right way for the species in question.
- Trim to create cuttings around 15-20cm long, cutting just below a leaf node and removing the lowest leaves and softest material at the tip to leave around 4 leaves.
- Dip the base of each cutting into the rooting hormone to promote rooting. (This is not always necessary but can often help.)
- Insert the cuttings into containers filled with a suitable free-draining cuttings potting mix.
- Place cuttings in a warm, bright position but out of direct sunlight. Sometimes it is best to cover to reduce moisture loss and help to ensure rooting. Some cuttings do best with bottom heat.
- Cuttings rooted indoors or under cover should be hardened off before potting on or planting out in a garden.
Plants to Propagate from Hardwood Cuttings in Late Fall
Hardwood cuttings can be taken from mid-fall and onwards throughout the winter. The ideal time in many cases to take these cuttings is just after leaves have fallen from deciduous plants. This type of cutting will take longer to root successfully, but success rates tend to be high.
- Vitis (grapes)
To propagate these and other plants from hardwood cuttings, the key method is –
- Select healthy and vigorous shoots for your cuttings. Make sure that the material you select is undamaged and free from disease.
- Remove the soft growth from the tip of the cuttings.
- Cut sections 15-30cm in length, cutting a sloping cut across the top, just above a bud, and a straight cut at the bottom, just below a pair of buds. With shrubs that have pithy stems, like elder, cut through the ‘heel’ where the shoot joins the branch.
- Insert the cuttings into a trench in the ground or into large containers, with 2/3 of each one below the soil surface.
- For single-stemmed plants, leave just one bud above the ground.
- Leave cuttings in place in the ground or in containers until the following fall. Make sure they do not dry out over the summer. Otherwise, you can leave them more or less to their own devices and will not need to give them much care.
- They should have rooted well and can be planted into their final growing positions after around 1 year.