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One of the best ways to propagate Lavatera is by a method known as taking softwood cutting in spring/early summer and it’s super easy to do even for beginners.
If you have never propagated lavatera through cuttings, this is the perfect opportunity for you to try. With the tips you will find below you should have garden ready plants either this year if you take them early enough which is spring or next year if you take them a little later usually early to mid-summer.
When to take softwood Lavatera cuttings
You cannot take cuttings at any time of the year as they need time to root and mature. That is why it is important to take cuttings around spring to early summer, the earlier the better. At this time, new growth has emerged and has had the time to mature enough to adapt to the environment but it will still be nice soft foliage and these have the best chance of rooting compared to taking hardwood cutting.
Furthermore, don’t take taking cuttings from stems with flowers as they don’t root as well as the flowers will take all the energy out of the little cuttings when you want them to concentrate on producing roots.
How to take cuttings
When it is time to time to take cuttings, it’s a good idea to get everything ready that you need including filling teh small post with seed/cutting compost so you can plant the cutting straight away. What you will actually need or a sharp pair of secateurs or a knife, some pots to plant the cuttings, a propagator with heat if you have one but not essential, a clear plastic bag if you not got a propagator and moist cuttings compost. You can also use multi-purpose compost mixed with grit too. Personally Always take cuttings and plant them straight away.
Harvest a 10cm cutting below a leaf node from a healthy plant, the new growth should be fresh new foliage. If you are not transplanting the cuttings immediately, wrap them in newspaper and set them in a cool area. Alternatively, place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate them until you are ready to transplant.
Then, remove 1/3 of the lower leaves to give space for the rooting node (this is where the leaves usually sprout from). Dip the end of the cutting into a rooting hormone and then transfer it to the biodegradable pot which is filled with compost. I like to put three cutting to a pit around the edges. This way they are less likely to rot.
You can use biodegradable pots so that it is easier to transfer to the ground or the pot without disturbing the roots.
Next, place the pots in a heated propagator in a bright position but not in direct sunlight. If you don’t have a propagator, you can simply cover the pots with a plastic bag for insulation, keep the soil moist, and wait for signs of new growth. You should air the plants once a week for 10 minutes.
If you are not transplanting the cuttings immediately, wrap them in newspaper and set them in a cool area. Alternatively, place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate them until you are ready to transplant.
Planting out your new lavatera cuttings
Once the root system is established, you can transfer the cuttings to the ground or a permanent pot. If you planted your cuttings in early spring and they are ready to plant out mid-summer this is perfect. If you planted them sooner then wait until spring to plant them out.
It is good to use peat pots because the transfer is direct and the roots remain intact. If you didn’t use biodegradable pots, make sure not to damage the roots while trying to dislodge the plant for transplantation.
Once you successfully transplant the cuttings, make sure you water them occasionally because they don’t like too much water. Additionally, they should receive enough sunlight to promote healthy growth.
General after care of young Lavatera
- Feed the plant using well-rotted manure or a general fertilizer in the growing season. This way the plant will have enough resources to support healthy growth.
- Deal with diseases and pest attacks as soon as they appear.
To wrap up
Propagating through cuttings saves you some time compared to sowing seeds as you don’t have to wait for germination. As long as you harvest the cuttings on time and from the right sections, root development should not be an issue. Follow the guidelines stated above and let us know how it went in the comment section. All the best!