Seven Steps Closer to Spring – #4

Seven Steps Closer to Spring – #4

Make More Plants!

Have you kept some geraniums, coleus or other summer annuals alive all winter? If so, it’s time to take cuttings! The plant will benefit from being cut back and you can root the sprigs you’ve removed so that you have more of these plants next spring.

Taking cuttings is really pretty easy. You’ll want a sharp knife, some rooting hormone, some new seed-starting mix and some clean pots.

The first step is to cut off end pieces of your plant that are about eight inches long. Don’t make much bigger because the likelihood that they’ll root goes down if the piece is too large. From there on, follow the directions on the photos below.

Here’s how a cutting of coleus looks before it’s cleaned up for rooting.
The red dots and dashes are marking the places where you’ll cut off the flowers and lower leaves.
Here are some Pentas cuttings before they’ve been cleaned for rooting.
These are how the cutting pieces looked after the flowers and lower leaves were removed. Yes, the coleus (on the right) looks like a stick…not to worry. It will not only root well, but the leaves will quickly return.
After your cuttings are prepared, dust the stems with rooting hormone. This is easiest to do by putting some of the powder on a dish and rolling the stem in it. Be sure to coat all the stem that is in contact with the soil. Next fill your pots with DAMP seed starting mix. Be sure it’s already pretty wet. Make a hole in the soil-mix and stick the cutting in, pressing the soil against the stem. Water the mix well even though it’s already damp because this will settle the soil

After you have the cuttings in a pot, put a loose piece of plastic over the cutting – a dry cleaner bag works well. This will help keep the moisture around the cutting while it roots, but the plastic shouldn’t be pulled tight against the pot – leave air spaces.

Most cuttings root in a couple of weeks. Monitor your pots and water them every week or  so. Keep them in a bright place but away from direct sun. Remove the plastic after two or three weeks and once you see the plants starting to grow, move the pots to a sunnier place and fertile. Don’t feed the plant until you see it starting to grow, however.

Making one plant into six more? You can grow that!


  1. Deborah on February 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for the tip about Pentas. I never thought to take cuttings from them.:)

    • admin on February 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Yes, Pentas is one of those plants you can save from year to year through cuttings!

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