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With the Skimmia Japonica, you want to take semi-ripe cuttings. With these cuttings, you can easily propagate new shrubs.
When to take your Skimmia cuttings
Semi ripe cuttings need to be taken from the current season’s growth. You want to find pieces so the base of the cutting is hard but the tip is soft. You can typically find this on your shrub between the end of Summer and the middle of autumn. Never select damaged, atypical, or unhealthy sections. If you are ahead you can encourage your shrub to produce suitable material for these cuttings by hard pruning the unproductive plant the spring prior to the cuttings in order to stimulate new growth.
Preparing Your Tools
When you take a cutting it’s imperative that you have properly sterilized and cleaned tools. The last thing you want is to accidentally transfer a disease from one plant to another simply because you forgot to clean your gardening tools.
There are many methods you can use to properly clean these including a quick mixture of rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and water, even bleach and water. There are commercial products you can use as well such as Jeyes Fluid or any household cleaning products.
Equally important is to have properly sharpened tools. When you take a cutting you want to make sure that you were able to do so in a clean, fast fashion. If you end up with rough cuts while trying to get the cutting, you will leave it susceptible to a great deal of disease and other problems.
How to Take Cuttings
When you are ready, you can use the basic method to take your semi-ripe cuttings and this requires you to cut just below a leaf to take a cutting that’s about 10 to 15cm in length. Once you take your cuttings put them in a plastic bag immediately and keep that bag in your refrigerator or in the shade until you’re ready to put the cutting in a pot. Your goal is to make sure you have the cuttings placed in a container within 12 hours but its always best to take the cutting and plant it straight away if possible.
To prepare the cuttings for their container, you want to trim them cutting just below a leaf node and removing the lowest leaves as well as the soft tips. You should still have about four leaves remaining when this process is done.
Always dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone powder to make sure that the cut is covered and well on its way to developing roots.
Insert your cutting into the appropriately sized container after you have filled the container with compost. Water it well and allow it to drain fully before you place it in your greenhouse or in a propagator away from direct sunlight.
A little tip is to bush 3 or 4 cutting together before inserting them into pots to form bushier plants. If any of the cutting doesn’t take, these can simply be removed later.
All of the containers in which you put your cuttings should be covered with a plastic bag or a plastic top and kept out of direct sunlight but still placed in an area that has a lot of warmth and light.
Once you see that they are developed and you can see roots coming out of the bottom of the pots, they still need hardening, a process where two or three weeks before you put them in their final home you place them outside where they get exposure to sun and cooler temperatures for a few hours each day in the afternoon.
If you notice disease or dead cuttings that didn’t quite make the cut, figuratively, get rid of them.
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for fungal mould or root rot as this can damage your cuttings which is why most people take a handful of cuttings so that in the end can be propagated to maturity while any that didn’t quite make it can be disposed of.