Have you been given the gift of caring by a gardening friend? Also, known as handed a stick with some leaves on it and told it can be planted and will grow? Here are some tips for getting your newly received cutting started so that some day you too can confuse and excite a new gardener with your prized plant as well.
A cutting is often from a plant where seed starting is often much more difficult and time investing than most have the ability to dedicate to it. It is an easy process of propagating from a cutting as you usually just need some part of the original plant to develop a new growth from. For most plants, cuttings should be between 4 and 6 inches long. If they are too long or large, this can often lead to a lanky plant and can lead to root development issues. Often the best cuttings will have what is known as “root nodes” that will help you establish a new plant, these however are not required for all cuttings.
Once your cutting has been taken, there are a couple of different methods that can be used to ensure a successful root development and plant growth. First dealing with the development of roots, you have the option of using rooting hormones to kick start your plants root development. Rooting hormones are chemicals known as auxins inform plants when to form roots. Rooting hormone products, which are commonly sold in powder, liquid, and gel form, contain natural auxins or synthetic compounds, which can be applied to clippings to stimulate root growth during propagation. This is not a necessity for most cuttings and is dependent on wanting to speed up the process or from plants that are hard to propagate.
Second, is the method is which the plant is kept during the propagation early stages. Often you might see people using the water cup method of propagation, which can work well for many to gage the success roots are having in developing and is often very exciting to watch, however transferring a water-rooted seedling to soil is not always successful, so it’s generally better to place the cutting in a potting mix to root. Using a soilless planting medium is often the best choice as you will be wanting to keep it moist but drains well to encourage the root development. For plants that prefer and even dryer climate you might want to use cactus potting mix to start off with. No matter what this is a temporary situation for your new greenery as you will want to transplant them once roots have developed. You can check for root development by gently pulling on the stem and any resistance will indicate that roots have started developing.