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Propagating lupins by taking basal cuttings
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When you are growing lupines, most people use seeds to propagate but you can very successfully take basal cuttings as well. The advantage of using cuttings/division is that the resulting plant you achieve will be genetically identical to the parent plant from which you took the cutting and when you sow seed this is not always the case.
its also lots of fun and fairly easy to do even if you have never done it before.
When to take basal cuttings from lupins?
You want to take the cutting between March and April when the plant is producing new, suitable growth for the cuttings.
Where to take the cutting?
Unlike a stem cutting, with the basal cutting, you want to go right to the base of your plant at the point where the stem meets the crown and try and take a sliver of root too by pushing the knife down into the soil.
How to take the cutting from your lupins
You want a clean, sharp knife that has been properly sanitized. The sharper the knife, the better because you’ll be able to make a single, swift cut at the base without causing any unnecessary damage.
When you make the cut you want to make the incision as close to the crown as possible. Doing so you want to search for stems that are newer, without denuding the original stems.
After you have your cutting there might be too much plant material, too many shoots coming out from the side in which case you’ll have to carefully trim away any excess. The goal is to leave a single leaf or a single leaf group at the top of each cutting you take.
Once you have the cuttings it’s time to propagate them by mixing about two parts horticultural grit to improve drainage with two parts seed and cutting compost. If you have multi-purpose compost you can use this but we recommend sieving it through a riddle first to get a finer mix.
Fill the containers, ideally 9cm or 1 litre with the compost and grit mixture and set the cuttings around the edge of the container. It’s better to put them around the edge as they dry out slower. If you are using, for example, a square container, you can take four cuttings, you can place all four of these in the four respective corners.
Water the container and place them somewhere warm with indirect sunlight access. If you don’t put them somewhere warm and humid immediately they will start to wilt. You should spray them with water regularly so they don’t dry out being careful not to overwater.
You can help cultivate humid conditions when it is otherwise cold in your home or your greenhouse by propping some sort of plastic cover over the cuttings but make sure they don’t come into contact with the plastic.
Wait until they are established and then transplant them into larger pots or plants in the final positions.