Gardening Tips > ‘How to’? Take Cuttings

‘How to’? Take Cuttings

Making cuttings from shrubs is an easy way to increase your stock of many popular garden plants for free.  You could try fuchsias, hydrangeas, philadelphus, lavender and forsythia or any healthy, pest-free plant with non-flowering shoots of new growth.

You will need:

A mother plant – to take cuttings from which is in good health.

Snips, scissors or a sharp knife

Small pot – ideally a fibre one, but anything will do

A propagator or plastic bag – to cover the cutting with to prevent excessive moisture loss.


In this step by step guide we use a fuchsia but it is the same process for whichever plant you choose to try.

Fuchsias are beautiful plants, suitable for growing in the border or in pots and hanging baskets. Not all fuchsias are completely hardy, so to prevent winter losses, it’s a good idea to take cuttings from them in summer.


  1. Choose healthy stems and remove a 7cm-long section from each with the snips. Choose non-flowering, healthy looking shoots (or pinch off the flowering buds)
  2. Remove the lower leaves and side shoots, then cut cleanly below the leaf joint. Cuttings should have one or two pairs of leaves.
  3. Fill a fibre pot with seed and cuttings compost. Insert the cuttings around the edge of the pot.

Water and place in a warm propagator or cover with a clear plastic bag. Within three to four weeks (or less), the cuttings should begin establishing good roots within the pot. Once these roots start, you can remove the plastic covering during the day to get the young plants acclimatised. When they have started growing well, the rooted cuttings can be removed and repotted as needed.

Don’t have any soil? You can also snip and prepare the cutting as described above and leave in a glass or small pot with enough water to cover the stem where the leaf joints are. Keep it on a sunny windowsill and carefully change the water every 3 to 5 days. Look out for roots starting to grow, this may take weeks so be patient! Once they are 8 to 10cm long you new plant can be potted with soil. There’s no hurry to this, they will survive in water for quite a while.

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