Woman standing amongst sunflowers

How to grow plants from cuttings

In Features, Spaces, Stories by Nicole Fuge

Whether you’re looking for an outdoor activity to get the kiddies involved in, or you’re after a spring gardening project for yourself, learning how to grow plants from cuttings is a great way to pinch some pennies while making your garden and home look great. Plus, gardening is also good for everyone’s health (read more on that here).

We sat down with the director of The Greenwall Company, Mark Paul, who explained that plants can regenerate from a single bit of themselves.

“With so many different cuttings you can select from to propagate your plants, the options are limitless,” Mark explains. “So why not have some fun and experiment with different types of cuttings and see what you can create?”

Here Mark talks us through what cuttings work best, what you’ll need and a gives us a step-by-step guide on how to grow plants from cuttings.

Field of sunflowers

Want to push yourself to do something different? Try your hand at growing sunflowers, which can also be grown from cuttings.

// What cuttings to use

Leaf cuttings can be propagated quickly and easily and using leaves is one of the best ways to ensure identical new plants. Try begonias, sansevierias or crassulas, which can vary greatly in size, shape and colour. Begin by laying on wet sphagnum or cocopeat.

Semi-mature cuttings (or half-hardened tips) are three to five internodes long – camellias and bottlebrushes (Callistemon) fit into this example.

Hardwood cuttings can be used to cultivate great garden plants during late autumn and into winter. These can be made from woody offsets such as murraya or grevilleas.

// What you’ll need
  • A sharp knife or pruning shears
  • Recycled pots or other draining containers
  • Potting mix, perlite, cocopeat and sand
  • Rooting hormone powder or gel
Empty pots plants for gardening project

Before buying new things to grow plants from cuttings, be sure to see what you have lying around the house. Once you have all of your tools together, you’re ready to get started.

// Step-by-step guide to growing plants from cuttings

1. Clean your tools

Use bleach to sterilise your cutting tool and the containers you’re using for potting up the cuttings.

2. Cut off a section of stem

To make your cuttings, select healthy growth from garden plants that has at least three internodes. Try to make a clean, sharp cut.

3. Remove the leaves

Remove the leaves on the under layer of the offset to make it bare and insert into your potting mix. Then, cut every second leaf out or halve the larger leaves – you’ll want reduce the leaf area by 60%. Do not reduce the leaf area of succulent plants like hoyas or carpobrotus.

Now comes the fun part – you get to pot your little green babies up. Enjoy!

4. It’s time to pot your cutting

In a moist mix of half premium potting and half sand or perlite, pot your cuttings. Make sure they’re kept humid by submerging the bottom of the pot in a container of water. Put a shopping bag with a rubber band around the pot and some cooking skewers to hold the plastic bag up over the top of the pot and cuttings, forming a miniature greenhouse. Keep well lit but out of direct sunlight.

Your cuttings may take between six days to six months to grow until they’re ready for planting out. Remember to be patient as some garden plants will take a while to grow – but it will certainly be worth the wait. Others may shoot up and surprise you.

You might also like: 10 sure-fire ways to positively challenge yourself, How to embrace change and not fear losing fans along the way, and 5 inspiring mamas to help you kickstart the week.