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How to take heuchera cuttings successfully
Last Updated on February 22, 2020 by John
Heuchera are a traditional foliage plant but there are many varieties today. These plants have a woody crown with bell-shaped flowers that run the length of their tall stems, hence their nickname “coral bells”. They are beautiful in colour, with evergreen leaves that will maintain their verdant colour even in the snow. What’s more, they attract bees and butterflies so you can help our declining population of much-needed bees.
New varieties offer more options, with leaves that take on shades of lime green, gold, purple, or rose. Still, with so many to choose from, how do you make more of what you have? With cuttings.
- Botanical name: Heuchera
- Common names: Coral Bells
- Plant type: Evergreen perennial flower
- Mature size: 30-45 cm
- Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade
- Soil type: Loamy
- Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0
- Flowering time: Spring and summer
- Flower colour: Red, pink, coral, white
No matter the type though, you can propagate a successful plant via cuttings.
When to propagate by cutting
Taking cuttings is very easy so long as you are prepared for the timing of it. This is something you’ll have to mark in your calendar for the Autumn. When autumn rolls around check your plant periodically and as soon as you notice new plants are forming at the base of the crown, that’s when you want to go in and take those cuttings. This can differ for different plants and different growing conditions or environments which is why there’s no specific day or date, it’s really something you’ll have to play by ear.
That said, get your sharpest set of pruning shears and make sure they are properly sanitized something you can do with a mixture of rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, or bleach and water. The sharper they are, the better because then you can make a clean cut without any messy incisions. Messy incisions leave your original plants susceptible to diseases.
When you see the new plants forming, cut them off with your sharpest pruning shears and transplant them into individual pots.
Choosing the right pots or trays
The pots or trays into which you transplant should be things like small pots or even plug trays. You can purchase propagating units that have everything you need and come with specially-designed plastic bottoms and matching tops which have dials on the top allowing you to further control the humidity inside.
But you don’t have to invest in this if you aren’t planning to propagate regularly. You can always use a homemade mixture that is any type of pot small enough to contain the cutting with a makeshift plastic top. The plastic top can be a plastic box, a plastic cup, anything that you are able to successfully place over the top to create a greenhouse effect without actually touching the cutting. Many people get away with adding a plastic bag and affixing it securely with a rubber band but then putting something like Chopsticks inside the perimeter of the pot to prevent the plastic bag from touching the plant, forming a tent. The possibilities are endless.
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- Tray Size: Length 36cm (15") x Width 22cm (9") x Depth 9cm (3.5").
How to propagate
- Only remove a mature leaf with one or two stem that has about 5cm worth of stem and try and cut into the soil to get some mature stem.
- Add some root powder to the stem and then plant them little plantlet into a small pot.
- These pots should contain a mixture of three parts perlite and one part peat moss.
- Water them thoroughly so they are properly moistened.
- Place the stems up right into the mixture.
- Cover the pots with a plastic bag or other plastic covering and secure it. Make sure it is not touching the leaf-cutting.
- Place the pots in indirect sunlight. Within a few weeks, you should notice roots starting to come out of the bottom of the pot.
- When all threat of frost is over and they have a good root system, you can transplant them outside which is usually around late April.
Heuchera transplantation and providing ideal growing conditions
Make sure wherever you transplant you provide the proper growing environment for your plants. They thrive in full sun or partial shade so it’s important to give them an area that has a lot of sunlight and a lot of air. A dry, sunny location will help prevent problems with fungus and disease.
They also enjoy neutral to slightly acidic levels of soil. You can test the soil before you transplant your new cuttings. More important though is to make sure that the area where you are going to transplant has good drainage. Drainage is imperative to the survival of your plants. If the crown sits in damp soil it will ruin the plant.
You will need to provide a medium amount of water to keep the soil moist at all times without drowning the plant. These can go a few weeks without water but it’s always best to give them a good water when the soil starts to become a little dry on the surface being careful not to overwater.
It’s also best to feed with some slow-release fertilizer or compost in the springtime. They don’t have a lot of heavy feeding requirements so slow-release fertilizers are best.
In the winter you can put mulch around the base of the plants to prevent them from freezing and to make sure the roots are not exposed.
Once that is done you will have successfully transplanted and propagated from a cutting.
Varieties of Heuchera to try
There are plenty of varieties which can be propagated like this. These are some of the fan favourites:
This is known for changing the colours of the leaves throughout the seasons, especially in autumn. It goes from red leaves to caramel leaves to ruby.
As the name suggests, it has a rich chocolate colour on top of the leaves and is accented with burgundy on the bottom of the leaves.
This plant has green leaves which are highlighted by deep maroon veins.
This variety has lots of colours ranging from amber to burnt sienna.
The leaves on this variety are tinged with red, and its colours will change as the season goes on.
Last update on 2020-10-22 at 19:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API