The cost of landscaping plants, shrubs and even houseplants adds up when you are trying to add more vegetation or greenery. Create more plants for your landscape or home for free by growing cuttings from your existing plants and shrubs. These free plants root quickly and provide an excellent way to increase plants without draining your budget.
Fill a tray or growing container with growing medium. You can use sand, potting soil or a mixture of both, as long as there are no contaminants or debris in the mixture. Some potting soils contain twigs and pebbles that must be removed before using. Simply run your hands through the soil and remove any unwanted pieces of material.
Poke a pencil or straw into the soil at even intervals so there is a pattern of 2-inch deep holes in the growing tray. Forming the holes before inserting the cuttings ensures that the rooting compound stays on the cuttings instead of getting brushed off at the soil surface when inserting them into the tray. When growing cuttings, the rooting compound must remain on the area of the cutting where the roots are going to grow.
Clip 6-inch cuttings from anywhere on healthy plants, making sure the sections being cut do not contain any disease or pest-infested leaves. Starting with healthy clippings when you are growing them ensures healthy plants when they grow. The cuttings need to have at least two or three pairs of leaves on them for photosynthesis to occur while the plant is establishing itself and growing new roots.
Pour the rooting compound into a separate container before dipping the cuttings into the compound. This helps to control any disease that may be present in the plants. A contaminated plant dipped directly into the bottle of rooting compound can contaminate the entire bottle and subsequently affect any other clippings dipped in the same compound.
Dip the plant cuttings into the rooting compound, and place them directly into the holes made in the growing medium. Pat the soil gently into place around the new cuttings so no air pockets are around the delicate stems. While you are growing the cuttings, it is important to keep air from entering around the newly forming roots so there is little chance of contamination or root rot.
Spray the entire tray with water so the soil is moist but not drenched. Place the new cuttings in filtered sunlight. Direct sunlight will dry out the growing plant cuttings and cause them to wither and die. The watering process is important because the new roots forming on the cuttings are tender and delicate and will dry out quickly. Keep the soil moist for the first few days. It will take about two weeks for the plants to establish a nice root system. Within four to six weeks, the growing cuttings should start to develop new growth. This is the time when they can be transplanted into new containers so they can develop into mature plants.