How to take cuttings from climbers
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Many climbing plants have a natural tendency to root directly from stems which means that you can effectively replicate climbers taking cutting selections from an existing plant. Taking a cutting from climbers requires a slightly different technique compared to normal cuttings but the process is essentially the same and is done by taking semi-ripe cutting at the end of summer to early autumn.
What types of climbers is it suitable for?
There are many climbers that will propagate effectively from cuttings including Honeysuckle, clematis, Wisteria, passion flowers, climbing roses, Ivy as well as most other hardy climbers, the only climbers that you cannot take a cutting from is annual or herbaceous climbers.
When to take the semi-ripe cutting
It is important to select semi-ripe cuttings for climbers, specifically taken from the current growth of the season. The base of the cutting needs to be firm while the tip needs to be soft. You can typically find this exact type of material at the end of summer but you might also be able to find something suitable around the middle of autumn if you didn’t quite get round to it.
You want to avoid selecting any pieces that are overly vigorous, in flower, damaged, or in any way unhealthy. If your plant does not currently provide semi-ripe cuttings that are suitable you can always postpone your propagation until the following season end, in the current season hard prune your unproductive plant to stimulate new growth from which you can take cuttings the following season.
How to take a cutting from climbing plants
Once you have the selection. The technique you use a slightly modified from the way you take cuttings from shrubs, such that you are able to create a double leaf bud cutting:
- First, you want to water your plants thoroughly the night prior to taking your cutting to ensure the cutting with be fully hydrated and have the best possible chance of taking.
- Then you want to prune off the suitable material with the sharpest set of secateurs you have that have been properly sanitized. We recently reviewed some of the best secateurs here. Avoid using something that is dull as this will result in having to cut multiple times in order to get the piece you require which can leave the rest of your plants susceptible to disease and damage.
- Once you have your cutting place it in a plastic bag and keep it cool until you are ready to propagate. Ideally, you want to get everything ready beforehand, pots, cutting, grit and compost mix.
- Cut the material above a selection of leaves and then make a second, lower cut halfway between two leaf joints.
- When you have this, dip it in hormone rooting powder to make sure that the cut is properly covered and will properly produce extra roots. We have done this without rooting powder and had good results too.
- If you have a large-leaved climber, you can cut the leaves in half in order to mitigate any water loss. Some people do this will all cutting regardless of leaf size.
General care of cutting
When you are ready to plant the cuttings, do the following:
- Insert each cutting into a suitably sized container after that container has been filled with compost. The mixture used for each container should consist of 50% compost with 50% perlite to add buoyancy and allow for better water absorption and improve drainage to help reduce the changed of them rotting off. Once the cutting has been placed in the container, water it well and allow it to properly drain so that the water saturates the entire section. it’s worth mentioning that you can use sharp sand instead of perlite to mix with the compost.
- Place your containers in a greenhouse or a heated propagator. if you don’t have either, just make a makeshift greenhouse in the form of a pot with some canes in with a plastic bag over the pot. You want to cover the pots with some form of a plastic bag that doesn’t directly touch the cuttings and place it in an area on top of a heating pad or in a warm, well-lit area that does not come into contact with direct sunlight so not in front of the window. You want to keep the compost damp at all times but removing the excess water so there is no standing water.
- The rooting will take place in approximately six or eight weeks but it is best for you to leave your cuttings until springtime after the cold snaps have passed before you move them into separate pots or put them outside.
- While the cuttings are inside the containers you want to make sure the compost is moist and if any dead or diseased sections appear, remove them immediately.