Plants are one of the wonders of nature and provide us with fresh air, food and beauty in our environment. If you are a plant lover, you have probably heard of propagation by cuttings.
It’s a simple and effective method of obtaining a new plant from an existing one, allowing you to multiply your favorite plants and share with friends and family.
In addition, making cuttings is a technique widely used in gardening and horticulture to create new plants quickly and inexpensively. In this article, we will explain step by step how to make a cutting from a plant and everything you need to know to be successful in this process. Let’s start propagating your favorite plants!
Introduction to propagation by cuttings.
Propagation by cuttings is a widely used technique in gardening and horticulture to obtain new plants from existing ones. It is a simple and effective method that consists of cutting a portion of the mother plant and creating a new plant from it. This process makes it possible to obtain an exact replica of the original plant, which is especially useful if you want to preserve a specific variety of plant or simply want to multiply a plant that you really like.
Propagation by cuttings is performed on different types of plants, from herbaceous to woody plants. Each type of plant has its own technique and optimum time to make the cuttings, but in general, the process consists of selecting a healthy branch from the mother plant, making a clean cut and placing it in a suitable substrate so that it can take root and begin to grow.
Propagation by cuttings is an ideal technique for those who want to start gardening and want to obtain new plants in a simple and economical way. In addition, it is a technique that allows the creation of plants identical to the originals, which is especially useful if you want to obtain several copies of a specific plant.
Types of cuttings (herbaceous, semi-hard, woody).
Within the process of how to make a cutting from a plant we should highlight the existing types of cuttings. There are different types of cuttings used in plant propagation. Each type of cutting is used according to the growth stage of the mother plant and the hardness of the part to be cut. The three most common types of cuttings are herbaceous, semi-hardy and woody.
Herbaceous cuttings are those made from plants that are in full growth and have not yet developed woody tissue. They are usually made in spring and summer. To make an herbaceous cutting, select a new, smooth branch from the parent plant, cut it at a 45-degree angle and remove the lower leaves. The end of the cutting is then dipped in a rooting hormone solution and placed in a moist substrate.
Semi-hardy cuttings are those made from plants that have already begun to develop woody tissue but can still bend easily. They are usually made in the growing season, when the plant has developed sufficient wood. To make a semi-hardwood cutting, select a thin, firm branch, cut it at a 45-degree angle and remove the lower leaves. The end of the cutting is then dipped in a rooting hormone solution and placed in a moist substrate.
Woody cuttings are those made from plants that have already developed woody tissue and are hardier. They are usually made in the fall or winter, when the plant has entered a vegetative rest phase. To make a woody cutting, select a woody branch, cut it at a 45-degree angle and remove the lower leaves. The end of the cutting is then dipped in a rooting hormone solution and placed in a moist substrate.
Selection of the mother plant.
The selection of the mother plant is a fundamental step in the process of how to make a cutting from a plant. It is important to choose a healthy, strong plant that is free of diseases and pests. In addition, it is important that the plant has vigorous growth and has developed enough plant mass to be able to cut cuttings.
Before making a cutting from a plant, it is important to observe it carefully to make sure it is in good condition. It should be checked for leaf spots, insects or visible diseases. It is also important to select a branch that has vigorous growth and a good amount of leaves. If the plant does not have a good growth or looks sick, it is better to choose another plant to make the cuttings.
Another aspect to consider is the time of year when the cutting is made. Each plant species has its optimal time to make cuttings, so it is important to know the characteristics of the plant to choose the right time. For example, to make cuttings of herbaceous plants, it is better to make them in spring or summer, when the plant is in full growth. On the other hand, to make cuttings of woody plants, it is better to make them in autumn or winter, when the plant has entered a phase of vegetative rest.
Tools and materials needed to make a cutting.
Another very important element in the task of how to make a cutting from a plant are the tools to be used. To make a cutting from a plant, it is important to have the right tools and materials to ensure that the process is carried out successfully. The following are some of the items needed to make a plant cutting:
1- Pruning shears: it is important to have sharp and disinfected pruning shears to make the cutting of the cutting cleanly and accurately.
2- Rooting hormones: they are used to stimulate the growth of the roots of the cutting. There are different types of rooting hormones on the market, so it is important to choose the right one for the type of cutting to be made.
3- Substrate: this is the medium in which the cutting will be planted to develop its roots. It is important to choose a suitable substrate for the type of cutting to be made. It can be peat, vermiculite, perlite, among others.
4- Container: you must have a container that is large enough for the cutting and the substrate to be used. In addition, it is important that it has good drainage to avoid puddles.
5- Water: clean, fresh water should be available to water the cutting and keep the substrate moist.
Cuttings preparation (cutting, leaf removal, hormone treatment).
The preparation of the cutting is a crucial step in the process of propagation by cuttings. To make a cutting from a plant, it is important to make a clean and precise cut on the chosen branch. It is recommended to make the cut at a 45-degree angle to increase the contact surface between the cutting and the substrate.
Once the cut is made, the leaves on the lower part of the cutting should be removed, leaving only the upper leaves for the plant to photosynthesize. This will allow the plant to channel all its energy into root development.
After removing the leaves, it is recommended that the base of the cutting be dipped in a solution of rooting hormones. Rooting hormones are chemical compounds that help stimulate root growth in the cutting. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for rooting hormone application.
Once the rooting hormone has been applied, the cutting should be planted in the chosen substrate, pressing gently to ensure that the cutting is securely held in the substrate. It is recommended to water the cutting immediately after planting to ensure that the substrate is moist and the cutting has enough water to survive.
Substrate and pot preparation for cuttings.
Proper preparation of the substrate and pot is essential for success when making a plant cutting. The substrate is the material in which the cutting will be planted, and the pot is the container that will hold it.
The first thing to consider when preparing the substrate is the type of plant you are propagating. Each plant has its own substrate needs, and some may require a different type of substrate than others. In general, it is recommended to use a substrate that has good moisture retention and good drainage to prevent the cutting from rotting.
To prepare the substrate, different materials such as peat, vermiculite, perlite or sand can be mixed. The proportion will depend on the type of plant and the desired growing conditions. It is recommended to moisten the substrate before planting the cutting.
On the other hand, it is important to select a pot of the right size for the cutting. The pot should not be too large or too small, as both options can affect the growth and development of the cutting. A pot with a diameter of about 10-15 cm is usually sufficient for most cuttings.
In addition, the pot should have holes in the base to allow for good water drainage. If the pot does not have holes, it is recommended to make some holes to prevent water from accumulating and causing damage to the cutting.
Once the substrate and pot have been prepared, the cutting can be planted. It is recommended to fill the pot with the moistened substrate to about 1 cm below the rim. Then, you can make a hole in the center of the substrate with a pencil or a toothpick and plant the cutting in it, making sure that it is well secured in the substrate.
Rooting methods (water, substrate, greenhouse).
There are different methods that can be used to root a plant cutting, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. The most common methods are rooting in water, rooting in substrate and rooting in a greenhouse.
Water rooting is one of the most popular and simplest methods. It consists of placing the cutting in a container with clean water and changing the water from time to time to avoid the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. This method is effective for cuttings of plants such as ivy, rosemary or lavender. However, some experts warn that rooting in water can result in weak rooting that makes subsequent transplanting to substrate difficult.
Substrate rooting consists of directly planting the cutting in a prepared substrate as mentioned above. This method is effective for most plants and is especially useful for plants that do not tolerate transplanting well. The substrate should be kept moist, but not soggy, and the cutting can be covered with a transparent bag to create a greenhouse effect that favors rooting.
Greenhouse rooting is a method that combines rooting in substrate with the use of a greenhouse. The greenhouse is a controlled environment that provides optimal temperature and humidity conditions for rooting cuttings. This method is effective for plants that require a warm, moist environment, such as tropical plants.
It is important to remember that each rooting method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and that some may be more suitable for certain types of plants than others. The choice of method will depend on plant characteristics, growing conditions and available resources.
Necessary care during the rooting process.
The process of rooting a cutting is a critical stage in plant propagation, and requires special care to ensure the success of the process. Some of the care needed during the rooting process includes:
Keep the cutting hydrated: During the rooting process, it is important to keep the substrate moist, but not soggy. If the substrate is too dry, the cutting may die from dehydration, and if it is too wet, it may develop fungal diseases. It is important to regularly monitor the moisture level of the substrate and water as needed.
Protect the cutting from direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can be detrimental to cuttings during the rooting process, as it can cause moisture loss and excessive heat exposure. It is advisable to place the cuttings in a place with indirect light, or cover them with a transparent bag to create a humid environment and protect them from direct sunlight.
Control temperature: Temperature is a critical factor during the rooting process, as it can affect both root growth and the appearance of fungal diseases. The ideal temperature for rooting of most plants is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. It is important to avoid sudden temperature changes and to maintain a constant and stable temperature.
Avoid contamination: During the rooting process, it is important to avoid contamination by bacteria and fungi, as they can affect rooting and the health of the cutting. It is advisable to keep the substrate and propagation tools clean and disinfected, and avoid contact with other plants.
Monitor root growth: During the rooting process, it is important to monitor root growth to avoid the development of circular roots or deformities that may affect the growth of the plant later on. It is advisable to transplant cuttings into larger pots as the roots develop.
Transplanting the cutting to its final location.
Once the cutting has rooted and developed a strong, healthy root system, it is time to transplant it to its final location. Transplanting the cutting is a critical process, as it can affect the future health and growth of the plant. Therefore, it is important to follow certain steps to ensure a successful transplant:
1- Prepare the soil: Before transplanting the cutting, it is important to prepare the soil of its final location. This may include removing weeds, improving soil quality and adding nutrients and organic matter. In addition, it is important to ensure that the transplant site has the proper light, humidity and temperature conditions for the plant species in question.
2- Prepare the cutting: Before transplanting the cutting, it is important to prepare it properly. This may include removing the lower leaves and pruning the tips to encourage the growth of lateral branches. It is also advisable to water the cutting well before transplanting to minimize water stress.
3- Transplanting: During transplanting, it is important to handle the cutting carefully to avoid damaging the roots or the plant itself. It is advisable to dig a hole in the soil large enough to accommodate the root ball and place the cutting in the hole. Then, fill with substrate around the root ball and press gently to remove air.
4- Watering and care after transplanting: After transplanting, it is important to water the cutting adequately to make sure it has enough moisture to establish itself in its new location. It is also important to protect the cutting from extreme conditions of temperature, wind and rain, and to apply adequate fertilizers according to the needs of the plant.
Tips for a good result in rooting cuttings.
Rooting cuttings can be a challenging process, but there are certain tips that can be followed for best results. Here are some tips for a good result in rooting cuttings:
Selection of the mother plant: Choosing the right mother plant is critical to obtaining healthy and strong cuttings. Mature and healthy plants should be selected for best results.
Cutting the cutting: Cutting the cutting should be done with a clean, sharp cutting tool to avoid damaging the mother plant or the cutting. The cut should be made at a 45-degree angle to maximize the cutting surface.
Leaf removal: The lower leaves of the cutting should be removed to prevent them from competing with the plant’s energy to produce new roots. It is also recommended to cut the remaining leaves in half to reduce water loss.
Hormone treatment: The application of a hormone treatment can help stimulate new root growth. However, it is important to follow the product instructions carefully to avoid excess hormones, which can damage the cutting.
Substrate preparation: The substrate should be well drained and provide sufficient aeration to allow root growth. It is recommended to use a mixture of soil, sand and peat to create a suitable substrate.
Temperature and humidity: It is important to maintain a constant temperature suitable for the type of cutting and to maintain adequate humidity to encourage root growth.
Light: It is important to provide sufficient light for the cutting, but without exposing it to direct sunlight, which can cause damage.
By following these tips, you can increase the likelihood of successful rooting of cuttings. It is important to be patient and consistent in caring for the cutting throughout the rooting process to achieve the best results.