Monday, October 3

Plants for free

After having found out rather belatedly that my newly planted salvias may not over winter I decided to take some cuttings.

For the cuttings I used a mix of half grit and half multipurpose compost. Unlike many cuttings that are taken below a leaf joint, salvia cuttings root best when you cut between two leaf joints; they are called internodal cuttings.
As seems to be the currently preferred technique I placed the cuttings around the edge of the pot and then popped them under a propagator lid just to stop them drying out too quickly until they rooted.

In no time at all, the Amistad salvia cuttings rooted  and the roots quickly began to push through the holes in the bottom of the plant pot. These cuttings have now been potted up and the tops nipped out to encourage them to become bushy. They are growing away so now I just have to decide where to keep them overwinter. 
I’m not sure if the other salvias have rooted yet. There are no roots visible at the bottom of the pot and I don’t want to tip out the pot to see if any roots are beginning to form. I’ll just have to wait patiently and hope. These are a different type of salvia so I suppose they may take longer to form roots.

Taking the salvia cuttings made me wonder what else I could try. I wanted more lavender to complete the edging around some of our fruit beds. I’ve successfully taken lavender cuttings in the past and so these were added to my list of cutting material.
I’m also trying a few Michalemas daisy cuttings and some perennial nemesia which, if they are successful, along with some of the salvias will be used to fill in some gaps in one of our flower beds.
I was going to take some rudbeckia cuttings but noticed a few young plants growing around the base of our established clump and so have potted these instead.
I’d like a sambucus nigra in the garden but don’t want it to grow as large as the ones on the plot so I decided to grow one in a tub and have taken some cuttings from the plants on the plot. I’ve been successful taking cuttings from this plant in the past - in fact our existing plants started life as cuttings. I’ve given away quite a few young plants so here’s hoping all goes well again. No doubt I’ll either end up with no rooted plants or too many!

Another plant that I want to increase is Laminum - White Nancy. This didn’t look as though it would respond to the same method so instead I have pinned down some of the long stems to see it they will root in the ground so I can then detach them and pot them up.

My last lot of plants for free are the potted runners taken from our new strawberry plants. I’ve taken 15 from each variety which is more than I bought originally. I intended to cut off all the runners produced in case they weakened the plants in their first year of growth. The plants, however had other ideas and I couldn’t keep up with the runner production. Some runners managed the start to root in spite of my best efforts and so it seemed a shame not to pot them on. At least I’ll have some young plants to replace any winter casualties  and if the main plants make it through winter? Well you can’t have too many strawberries can you? It will just be a case of finding somewhere to plant them!


  1. Wow! That's a lot of cutting! Hope they grow well!

  2. You're going to need a bigger garden next year if that lot all survive...

  3. So do I Malar - the tricky bit will be getting them through winter.

    The lavenders are to edge a fruit bed on the allotment, Mark so no problem there. As for the rest we have a bed in the garden that needs bulking up and also a flower area on the plot that has plenty of gaps so if they all do grow, which is a big IF, I should be able the find homes for them.

  4. Very good post Sue. I would think that your salvia would make it through the winter just fine. I have several here that do.

    I really should have rooted some of my strawberry runners this year. I cut most of them off since the plants are new. It was a mistake since it seems that I have lost several plants from the weather this year.

  5. It's a while since I've taken any cuttings, I should have done so last year as I lost so many things over winter. It's always a task keeping up to the strawberry runners, there's always some which manage to avoid being chopped off.

  6. Fall a good time ready for cuttings. You are always so organize. I always forget to do the cuttings and end up they don;t grow big enough when winter comes.

  7. I didn't intend to plant up runners either, Robin as my plants are also new but they just sent the things out so quickly that some had developed roots before I removed them so I decided I may as well pot them up. It's as well as one some are looking distinctly dodgy in one of the varieties.

    I only intended to do the salvias and lavender, Jo and I sort of got carried away.

    But I don't have two small children and am also studying, Diana.

  8. The only cuttings I have ever done are from a cactus when it was starting to outgrown itself...however my front bed really needs sorting out but I love some of the plants in maybe I will try taking some cuttings to start with just in case anything dies off....thanks for the tips!!

  9. Hope that the cuttings go well Tanya

  10. I'm impressed Sue, that is an impressive collection of free plants. I've already failed with my fuchsia cuttings this year, and am too distracted with other matters (door painting, organising workmen) to try more.

  11. What a shame about your fuchsias, Janet

  12. Taking cuttings is something I rarely do and I really should! Your post has inspired me to try this. I'll make it one of my goals.

  13. Goodness that is so inspiring! We usually take cuttings of various things but this year it's just all got so on top of us and the weather is horrible here! Now I'm a little fired up though - must tackle those Strawberries and take more lavendar cuttings - thanks for the kick up the bum xxxx

  14. Go for it Kelli!

    My pleasure Carrie - hope I didn't kick too hard!

  15. Excellent post Sue..I'm going to try this with the herbs and my lavender too. In my new garden next year I would like to grow a few rows of lavender to attract the pollenators and maybe have some bee's of my own. This is a great suggestion..thanks for pointing me here!

  16. When you take lavender cuttings Jenni, try to choose a bit that hasn't flowered and pull it off the main stem by pulling downwards. This leaves a little tag or heel - just trim off the end of the heel - the bit like skin.


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