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How to Root Plant Cuttings

Cuttings are typically taken either in the spring or fall. Lavender is said to be best to take in the fall, but late spring will work as well. I’ll be picking the shoots that are firm – not the delicate, brand new growth. I’m looking for an established branch of the lavender that is still green and not woody.

Step 1

The first step will be to cut about a six inch shoot of the plant with a pair of very sharp and very clean clippers. I will try to choose a shoot that isn’t trying to flower. If I can’t find one, I’ll remove the flower before the next step.

Step 2

Next I’ll trim off all but one or two sets of leaves near the top of my shoot. I’m removing the unnecessary leaves and flowers because I want this new plant to devote all of its energy to developing roots rather than continuing to feed leaves and make flowers.

Step 3

I’ll prepare a soil mixture that is about ⅔ potting mix and ⅓ sand. I want the soil to hold moisture, but not become waterlogged. Each stem that is prepared to this point will be dipped into a rooting compound and then placed directly down into the soil of a plastic greenhouse tray or takeout container. At least 2 of the ”nodes” where the leaves were cut off before planting will need to be below the surface of the soil. This is where the new roots will develop.

Step 4

Finally, I will place a plastic tray cover or a plastic bag over the whole container. When making cuttings you want to keep them evenly moist and warm until they begin to sprout roots.

After a few weeks, I’ll gently pull upwards on a few plants. If they give easily, they need more time. If they provide resistance to my tug, they are well on their way to establishing a new root system and it won’t be too long before I can set them out in their new rows.

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