Pot’s Growing On: cuttings to overwinter

Today I took softwood cuttings of a few plants in order to overwinter them more easily indoors (as we have zero space) and to attempt to increase the number of each plant.

I used sterile cuttings compost mixed with perlite to create a very free-draining sterile mix, put into 7cm square pots – square being easier to store. Ideally I would have used terracotta pots for increased drainage and aeration, but I didn’t have any spare.

I took typical cuttings, about 8 – 10cm long, removing lower leaves, cutting below a leaf node at the bottom and nipping out the growing tips. Then stuck them in holes at the edge of the pots (as you can see in the main picture above).

Step one: approach your victim (here Pelargonium 'Lord Bute')
Step one: approach your victim (here Pelargonium ‘Lord Bute’)
cuttings - 2
Step two: cut immediately above a leaf node to allow clean growth on the main plant. You want a non-flowering stem that is healthy and pest free.
cuttings - 3
Step three: trim bottom of the stem directly below a leaf node, remove lower leaves and on some plants nip out the growing tip as it can rot, also to encourage bushy growth. At this stage, you can add rooting hormone if you like.
Step four: add to free draining, sterile growing media. In a few weeks, hopefully they will start growing and you know there are roots below ground.
Step four: add to free draining, sterile growing media. In a few weeks, hopefully they will start growing and you know there are roots below ground.

The plants in the picture are Salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’ (top left – one of my absolute favourites), Solenostemon scutellarioides (middle and bottom left – two unknown cultivars raised from seed) and Pelargonium ‘Lord Bute’ (bottom right).

I’m winging it a bit and not using rooting powder on these. I’m also probably not going to cover, and just leave in a low-light window in a cool room over winter. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks if this care-free strategy has worked or been a complete disaster… Stay tuned.

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

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