Robin shares her expertise with workshop participants
Last Saturday, Robin from Sustainable Macleod volunteered her time and shared her expertise on propagating at the garden. Enthusiastic gardeners gathered around the table to learn how to successfully propagate from cuttings. The hands-on workshop was very informative as Robin demonstrated how to propagate from cuttings and participants followed every step as they snipped, rolled, potted and watered.
Robin used scented geraniums for the workshop as their large stems make them easy to propagate.
Types of Cuttings
There are four types of cuttings:
- Herbaceous – a green cutting used for propagating herbs and some fruits
- Soft wood – point where branch turns from brown to green
Preparation of Propagation Medium
Perlite and verniculite mixed in bucket and wet with water
A good propagation medium provides adequate moisture, good aeration and drainage.
We used a 1:1 ratio of perlite (to provide good aeration and drainage) and verniculite (to hold moisture) and wet with water. Pots were filled with the mixture to within 4 cm of the top.
Note: Perlite and vernicultie are synthetic. Other options include a mixture of washed river sand and peat moss or potting mix.
How to Propagate
Preparing the Cutting
Cutting with trimmed leaves
- Using secateurs, take terminal cuttings of about 12 – 15 cm with 3-4 nodes and stem cuttings (what is left of stem once you have taken the terminal cutting) of at least 4 nodes. Cut the stem on an angle and a couple of mm below the bottom node.
- Remove branches from nodes at least 2/3 way up cutting, leaving the terminal leaves.
- Reduce the size of the terminal leaves by cutting off the ends. This is important because you want the plant to put its energy into developing roots. You also need some leaf so the plant can absorb some moisture while the roots are still developing.
- Also nip out any buds or flowers.
Using hormone rooting powder
- Wet tip of cutting in water and shake excess off.
- Put rooting powder in a container or on a piece of cardboard and roll tip of cutting in the powder to go just slightly above the bottom node (this is where the roots will grow from).
Planting your cutting
- Use a chopstick to make a hole in the propagation mix.
- Push cutting into the hole, no further than just above the second bottom node.
- Water plant
Looking after your plant
- Your plant will need a humid environment so the leaves can absorb moisture while the roots are still developing. Place you plant in a greenhouse or create your own mini greenhouse using two chopsticks, a plastic bag and a rubber band and keep the pot on a windowsill
- Water daily so plant doesn’t dry out and keep leaves moist.
In four to six weeks your cutting will have developed roots and be ready for planting into a bigger pot with potting mix.
Some of our “babies” perched in front of the wood heap
Scented Leaf Geraniums (Pelargoniums) – Background Information
There are many varieties of scented leaf geraniums, e.g. nutmeg, peppermint, cinnamon, old spice, rose, lemon, orange, lime and apple. These plants are native to South Africa and are grown for their leaves rather than the flowers. They grow well in pots, including teracotta, and cope well with a single decent watering once a week in summer.