Success with Semi-Ripe Cuttings

Propagating your own plants is immensely satisfying, and often much easier than you might think, and using semi-ripe cuttings is an easy way to propagate a wide range of plants. So follow our simple guide, and increase stocks of your favourite plants without breaking the bank!

What plants are suitable?

This method of propagation suits a wide range of plants:

  • Hardy climbers – such as ivy, passion flower, trachelospermum amd solanum
  • Evergreen shrubs – including berberis, camellia, ceanothus, choisya, cistus, erica, euonymous, hebe, fatsia, mahonia and viburnum.
  • Groundcover – such as lonicera pileata, periwinkle and rubus.
  • Hedging – including box, cherry laurel. Escallonia, holly, Portuguese laurel and privet.
  • Herbs – such as bay, hyssop, lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme.
  • Trees – including magnolia grandiflora, holly, and many evergreen conifers.

Tools for the job

You’ll need:

  • Sharp, clean secateurs or a gardening knife
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • Cutting compost
  • Vermiculite
  • Suitable pots or modular trays
  • A propagator or coldframe
  • Your cuttings!

Material for semi-ripe cuttings should be selected from the current year’s growth and is best taken between Summer and mid-Autumn. Be sure to choose a shoot that is healthy and free of pests and diseases – and check to ensure that the base of the selected material is hard, while the tip remains soft and pliable.

The euonymous growth shown above right at the top of this article is a perfect example of suitable cutting material.

Measure the cutting by placing your index finger alongside it and then cutting below the leaf node, as Marcus is demonstrating below, using sharp, clean secateurs. Immediately place your cutting into a plastic bag to minimise moisture loss and avoid wilting before preparation.


Mix a suitable amount compost and vermiculite on a 1:1 ratio which will give your cuttings a nutritious yet light medium in which to grow and fill your modular tray or pots.


Once you have finished collecting material, prepare each cutting by removing the bottom three sets of leaves, so that you are left with a length of stem and only a few leaves (probably around 4-6) at the top of your cutting.


Dip the bottom of each cutting into hormone rooting powder, taking care to cover the cut well and then remove any excess. Place the cutting carefully into your pot or modular tray.


Once you have planted all of your cuttings, water well and allow to drain.

Arrange your cutting pots in a propagating tray, put the lid on and then place in a shady spot in the greenhouse, or alternatively cover with plastic bags and place in a warm, light position out of direct sunlight.

What next?

Your new cuttings should root quickly in Summer, but here are a few tips to help you get the results you want:

  • Keep your compost moist until the cuttings are well-rooted, shading the greenhouse in hot weather if necessary.
  • Some moulds and rot can result in casualties, but ensuring good ventilation, removing excess moisture and any diseased material as soon as it appears will increase your chances of success.

And finally… once your cuttings are growing strongly, remember that they will need to be hardened off for 2-3 weeks before potting on or planting out.

If you need tools, equipment or any supplies to take your own cuttings, visit us in-store today – and prepare to propagate!


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