The cut – Gardening techniques – The cut


Cutting is a widely used propagation method, as it offers considerable advantages: many cuttings root very easily, requiring some precautions for the success of the operation; you can get countless cuttings from a single plant, even a small one; In general, the plants obtained by cutting are identical to the mother plant. There are different types of cut, which must occur at certain times of the year; from each plant can be produced cuttings of different types, even if in general each plant shows to root more or less quickly depending on the type of cuttings which it was decided to take: for example, geraniums take root very easily to cut herbaceous; the most recommended rose cuttings are woody or semi-woody; begonias spread quickly to cut foliar; and so. Before making cuttings, therefore, it is good to inquire about the type of cutting that can guarantee us greater successes depending on the plant we want to propagate.



Herbaceous cuttings are practiced at the end of winter or in spring, taking an apical portion of the branch, or a small branch, trying to maintain a “foot”, which is a small part of the bark of the branch to which it was attached . Herbaceous cuttings are generally very suitable in the case of herbaceous plants, perennials or live plants, and also for small shrubs; less suitable in the case of large trees or shrubs, in this case, in fact, young shoots generally have few nutrients stored in their tissues and can live for a very short time if separated from the mother plant, which gives little chance of success in the cut


Semi-woody cuttings are practiced in summer, taking young portions of the branch, but already partially lignified, cutting just below a node; This type of cuttings are taken from trees and shrubs and can be apical, or include the tip of a branch, which must be cut promptly, to avoid excessive development in height of the cutting; or semi-woody stem cuttings, which include a portion of the branch that has some knots. These cuttings are generally 10-15 cm long, some of them can be produced by cutting a single branch of the plant, and then dividing it into portions; a few centimeters are buried, inserting at least one knot in the rooting compound, from which point new roots will develop. Before burying the cut well remove the leaves from the bottom, at least a third of the length of the cutting.

The woody cuttings are practiced in autumn or at the end of winter, taking portions of branches from the previous year, therefore not excessively old branches; cuttings should be 10-15 cm long, or a little longer; it is good to remove a small portion of bark from the lower part of the branch, to promote rooting; usually the leaves are lifted at the bottom of the cutting, the outer half of the remaining leaves removed. This type of cut is practiced with tall trees or with some shrubs.

This type of cutting is done in late winter or early spring: a portion of the root, including a root tip, is removed and buried a little further; this type of cutting indicated only with some plants, generally a little used method.

The cuttings of cacti and succulents root very easily, so much so that this method of propagation is usually used in the case of diseased plants, from which the healthy parts are extracted, which are rooted to obtain new plants, perfect replicas of the mother plant. In general, before rooting a succulent plant cutting, which can be a leaf, a stem, a branch, etc., it is best to let it dry for a few hours, so that the cut surface dries well; This practice increases the chances of rooting.


To increase the chances of success of the propagation by cuttings it’s good to get the right equipment. In the first place, it is essential that the cuttings are taken out with a very sharp knife, or with scissors that make a clean cut without burrs, the tools must be cleaned after each cut; the cut should be made obliquely, as in pruning.

To promote the rooting of our cuttings it is also advisable to use rooting hormones, substances readily available in well-stocked garden centers, in powder or liquid form, in which the lower part of the cuttings must be immersed before placing them in the ground. ; These substances simulate the hormones that are produced in the tips of the branches of plants, from where they are sent to the roots, to stimulate their development. Our cuttings will be rooted in shallow, large and well-cleaned containers, eventually sterilized, to avoid the possible presence of bacteria or mold. The cuttings of shrubs or trees can also be rooted in individual containers, where they will remain even after rooting.

Once the stem, leaf or root portions have been taken, it is time to place them in the container; the rooting substrate is a very important element for rooting cuttings: they need a light, well-ventilated soil, which can possibly retain a little moisture; generally a mixture of washed river sand and well chopped peat is used, to which a small part of perlite is added, to increase aeration; To maintain humidity, it is also advisable to mix 15-20% vermiculite or very fine pine bark with the soil. To avoid the development of mold, it is advisable to sterilize the soil, with steam or in the oven, at 100-120C for a few minutes.

Portions of the plant should be buried a few inches, gently pressing the soil around the base; leaf cuttings simply rest on the rooting substrate

Water is one of the most important elements for the development of plants, and it is also the most important for cuttings; The rooting substrate must be kept constantly humid, avoiding that it becomes too dry or that it becomes excessively soaked with water, if possible it should be steamed regularly, at least twice a day. It is also very important to maintain a high environmental humidity, in the case of a few cuttings it is advisable to close the containers in a transparent plastic bag, in this case to monitor the possible development of fungal diseases.

The cutting containers should be stored in a bright place, but not exposed to direct sunlight, and protected from cold and excessive heat. In winter, it is enough to place the cuttings in a cold greenhouse; in spring and summer they should be kept in a shady and well ventilated place. New plants obtained by cuttings will be grown in containers for at least two years before being planted; Herbaceous, perennial and live plant cuttings, once rooted, can be planted as soon as the weather permits.

There fig cut an excellent method to obtain fig plants with exactly the same characteristics as the ones we want to reproduce. The most effective and used cutting method for this plant is undoubtedly the cut woody that consists of taking a portion of a relatively young branch of the mother plant to give life to a new individual.

More specifically, a 15-20 cm portion of branch should be removed from the plant that contains some buds and some leaves. The basal part of the branch should be peeled and the fig leaves also removed from the basal part, cleaning the initial part of the branch. Next, the cuttings taken will be placed in a jar in which we will have previously put a little rich and humid soil. To have a higher percentage of success we can put a little rooting powder at the base of the branch, a product available in all nurseries and garden centers that helps plants to emit roots after a cut.


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