Everyone likes something for free and I am definitely no exception. Free shrubs are a great way of saving money and developing your garden. I love growing things in the garden from seed or from cuttings. If you are interested in growing from seed then take a look at my posts ‘Successful Seed Sowing‘ and ‘Transplanting Seedlings‘. Cuttings are great because you can replicate a shrub around your plot or even better, get free shrubs from a friend’s shrub. Next time you are admiring a shrub ask for a cutting or two and take the following steps. Most gardener’s love sharing their garden in this way.
Obviously it is also great for the environment as your plants are not travelling great distances or being kept at constant temperatures in greenhouses.
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You will need:
Shrub to take cuttings from
Sharp secateurs – like these from Amazon
Light space without direct sunlight
You will need some nice cuttings. How do you know what to cut off the shrub, I hear you ask? Well, you are looking for nice new shoots without any flowers on them. This philadelphus is perfect with several long new shoots that I can use.
Cut off some shoots that are at least 3 or 4 pairs of leaves long. I cut long shoots as I was also pruning the shrub back a bit.
Ideally place them in a plastic bag as you cut them to prevent them drying out whilst you keep cutting.
Take one cutting and cut it down to about 10 to 13cm (4 or 5 inches) and remove all but one pair of leaves (the top pair).
Then insert the stem into a pot of compost. Any multi-purpose compost will be suitable but obviously peat-free is better for the environment. I usually make a hole first with a pencil so that I do not damage the stem as I insert it into the compost. Ideally place about half of the stem into the compost.
Repeat with all your other cuttings. You can place several into your pot as you will repot the plants as they establish.
Water the cuttings thoroughly. I always place the pot onto a saucer so that I can keep the pot moist at all times. The cuttings must not dry out.
Then place the pot onto a light windowsill that does not get direct sunlight. Keep them there for a few weeks and keep them well watered. You will know when they have rooted as if you gently pull them (I do mean gently) there will be some resistance.
Once your cuttings have rooted you need to pot them on so that they can grow and thrive. This is a pot that I had planted up as cuttings about a month earlier. They are also philadelphus cuttings.
Carefully, using your fingers, divide the pot up into the individual plants. Try to minimise the damage to the roots but do not worry too much. They will all have grown together so there will always be some damage.
Re-plant each plant in an individual pot of multi-purpose compost. Ensure that the surface of the compost is in approximately the same place as it was in the cuttings pot. Put some compost in the pot. Add the plant and then add more compost and firm it around the plant until the required depth is reached and the plant feels secure.
Repeat for all the young plants.
Water the plants thoroughly and then leave them outside or in a coldframe to grow on. Keep them watered but do not allow them to stand in water if you are using seed trays or saucers.
After a few weeks you will have strong little free shrubs that you can plant out into the garden and/or give away to your gardening friends.
I have many plants from cuttings and I have several of these philadelphus plants and have had them in three gardens so far over the last 20 years. All are cuttings from the original plant and the subsequent shrubs as I left the original plant at our first house.
Taking cuttings also allows you to keep favourite shrubs when perhaps the original shrub is past its best. take cuttings and get them established before getting rid of the original shrub.
Some great shrubs that are easy to propagate from cuttings are lilac, forsythia,viburnum, weigela and deutzia. You can try any shrub you like as you have nothing to lose.
If you are keen to save money and the environment gardening then take a look at some of my other posts:
Let me know in the comments section below what free shrubs you propagate from cuttings and any tips you may have.
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