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Penstemon Cuttings

By Alip @alisonpikeGD

I am a plantaholic so plant purchases are inevitable but I wanted to create my garden here using as many plants as possible that I have propagated myself.  Partly for the satisfaction of knowing I have been involved at every stage of the plants life but also plain and simple because it will save me an enormous amount of money.

Now is a great time to take softwood cuttings.  It’s quick, easy and before you know it you have a great supply of wonderful free plants

The first step is to collect suitable plant material.  Go out first thing and with a sharp knife or scissors cut strong healthy stems just above a pair of leaves (image below shows lots of suitable material). This can be repeated depending on how many cuttings you are taking, don’t take too many you need to be able to deal with them quickly else they will dry out.

Penstemon Cuttings

Pop the stems into a plastic bag immediately then head straight to your potting shed, a bench, kitchen table… where ever you have abit of surface, a pot and some compost.  I use multipurpose compost with a generous amount of grit mixed in to improve drainage and I usually have a pot full of this ready and waiting to help speed things up.

Take the stem and nip out the growing tip, remove the lower leaves giving a clear stem of about 5cm long, insert this into the compost around the edge of the pot.

Penstemon Cuttings
Penstemon Cuttings


Penstemon Cuttings

Water thoroughly and top with grit to keep the moisture in.  I don’t have a greenhouse yet so it is the kitchen windowsill for me.  I pop a clear plastic bag over the pot to help keep the air moist and warm. I also mist daily to help keep moisture levels up.  Hopefully in about a months time I will have 5 little plants with strong roots that I can then pot on and keep in sheltered spot outside until they are big enough to plant into the borders.  Couldn’t be simpler!

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