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Taking Cuttings

Dot Appleby –
April 13, 2023


Essentially, propagation by cuttings is the act of multiplying your plants by using little bits of a parent plant to grow lots of babies. The benefits of this method include getting a true clone of the parent plant and, of course, it’s totally free!

The natural propagation journey for most gardeners seems to be:

  1. Buying potted plants from garden centres in spring each year.
  2. Growing from seed and seeing how fulfilling it is to grow your own, how much control you have and how much money you can save.
  3. Propagating by dividing suitable plants in spring to make more plants. Essentially, this is chopping them up and replanting the separated bits.
  4. Finally, taking cuttings to propagate from your existing stock.


Taking cuttings is something that I’ve only recently started to do. I’ve always thought that it was too tricky and fiddly and I never had the time or the space! Actually, it’s pretty simple and so far, I’ve had lots of success.

Kit – clear sandwich bags, sharp clean scissors or knife, rooting hormone, 9cm plant pots, free draining soil mix (peat free and added grit or perlite), dibber or pen.

In spring when the new growth is just breaking the ground your Lupins will be covered in lots of fresh leaves. When these are around 8-10 cm tall you can start to take your cuttings. Try to do this early in the morning to get the cutting when it has the maximum moisture content.


  1. Take your sharp knife or scissors and cut the stem of the leaf you have selected as close to the base of the parent plant as possible.
  2. Immediately pop this into you plastic bag and repeat with as many cuttings as you require. Remember not to strip the plant of all it’s new growth!
  3. Take your bag of cuttings to your workbench. Fill your pots with your free draining mix. You can get around three or four small cuttings to a pot.
  4. Clean up each cutting by taking off any large or damaged leaves and dip the end into the rooting hormone
  5. Use your dibber (or a pen) to make a small hole at the end of the pot and pop the cutting in. Gently firm around. Repeat with all your cuttings
  6. Stand the pots in a little water to become moist.
  7. I usually pop my pots into a plastic bag or propagator and stand them somewhere warm but out of direct sunlight. North-facing windowsill or under the bench in the greenhouse and check on them regularly. Remove any cuttings that rot or go brown. After a few weeks, you should notice little white roots at the bottom of the pot.
  8. Simply gently remove each cutting and place in it’s own pot with more free-draining compost! Tada!
Give it a go and see how you get on!

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