The only true method of propagation for named cultivars is by taking cuttings from existing stock plants with known names. Cuttings are taken any time after flowering, usually throughout the late summer months. The plants are prepared by giving them a good prune once flowering has finished encouraging fresh growth remembering to water regularly in dry conditions. Approximately two inch cuttings are taken from this new growth.
My method of Propagating from Cuttings
- Depending on the quantity of cuttings, prepare either a series of pots or a seed tray with suitable soil. I tend to use a mixture of 2 parts John Innes, 2 parts peat and 1 part sharp sand. Also, don’t forget the label!
- Ensure the soil is already prepared damp.
- Carefully cut a section of non-flowering, fresh foliage of two to three inches in length from the plant using a knife. Take your cut just below a leaf for optimum rooting.
- Remove a few of the lower leaves from the off cut; this is the area of the stem which will be pushed under the soil.
- Using a pointer or kebab skewer to make a small hole in the soil, poke the prepared cutting into the hole and carefully firm the soil around with your fingers.
- Place the cuttings in a well-lit but shady position out of direct sunlight. Ensure the soil remains damp throughout the rooting process. I tend to leave the majority of my cuttings outside in the fresh air to root, however some may choose to place in a warmer location such as within a greenhouse, cold frame or propagator.
The majority of successful cuttings will be well rooted and ready for transplanting within roughly 6 months. Generally cuttings taken late summer are ready for potting up the following spring. Before considering transplanting, ensure fully rooted - i.e. roots coming through the bottom of the pot. It is common for some cultivars to root more quickly than others and also some are more difficult to grow.
Once rooted, pots of cuttings are carefully separated into individuals and then replanted one to a pot (7cm pot) using the same soil mixture of 2 parts John Innes, 2 parts peat and 1 part sharp sand. To replicate their normal growing conditions on chalk land, I also add a small amount of lime pellets to the soil mixture. Water potted plants regularly in dry weather for optimal growth.