How to take Hydrangea cuttings
Autumn is a great time to take hydrangea cuttings. Read on for top tips:
1. Select a thick stem
Select long, strong semi hardwood stems approx. a “finger” 8mm thick, and preferable with no flowers. These will have enough food stores to see the cutting through winter. Semi hardwood means current season stem growth that’s not too soft and is starting to harden off & change colour.
2. Cut it into lengths of 4 nodules
Cut into lengths of 4 nodules, with 2 nodules to go above ground & 2 to go in the potting mix. Make your cut just below the bottom growing nodule. This is where the roots will come from. Two nodules in the ground makes for twice the rooting opportunity.
3. Clear the bottom leaves & any flowers
Clear the lower stems of leaves, to go under ground. Cut leaves in half above ground. Cut all flowers off. This reduces transpiration & wasted energy. You only need 4 or so half-leaves above ground.
4. Prepare your pot
Fill a medium pot with potting mix. Thoroughly wet the soil, poke holes in potting mix using a stick first, dip cutting end in rooting hormones & gently tuck cutting into hole. Try not to damage the growing end. I use potting mix in a 6L pot, 25cm tall, which takes about 7 cuttings. Not sure if rooting hormones work, but I always use them.
5. Don't let them dry out
Leave the cutting pot in a warm sheltered spot, not baking hot. Don’t overwater or let them dry out. Water every couple of days to start with. We get regular rain every couple of days in Wellington, and I usually forget about watering them after the first couple of weeks until spring, and let the weather water them. You know if they’ve taken in spring because the nodules plump up with new leaf buds. Transfer the cutting to individual pots a couple of months later, in late spring, when the cuttings are growing well & roots are stronger.
Go forth & have fun :)