I have a very scrappy weigela shrub which has never been properly pruned. It also lives in the shadow of a large cornus shrub/tree so it has got leggy for light. It’s not a good shape. I’m minded to make this its last year but want to replace with a new shrub of the same variety. I have a couple of hardwood cuttings from it which have rooted and seem to be doing ok, but I’m taking some softwood cuttings, just in case. Early to mid-summer is a good time to be doing this.
Before taking any cuttings I have taken my usual cleanliness precautions, giving the cutting surface, blades, scissors, dibber etc etc a good scrub with kitchen bleach spray. It’s temptng to dive straight in, but 2 minutes spent here will minimise the chance of any cross-contamination that may result in rot or disease in the cuttings. I do this before starting any cuttings activity, and also when switching varieties in the same session.
I trimmed off a few sprigs of this years growth from the shrub and went straight to setting them up.
I first trimmed off the very soft tip, which is too vulnerable to rotting off.
Each stem provided two, sometimes three, cuttings. For each cutting I have made a cut just above a leaf node, then just below the next leaf node. These are nodal cuttings. I also trimmed off the bottom leaves, and any leaf axils left behind, to ensure a clean stem, again to minimise chance of rot during the rooting process.
This resulted in a bunch of two-leaved cuttings. In some cases, where the leaves are large, I have removed one of the leaves. This is to reduce moisture loss through the leaves. It’s a balance, as the cutting also needs leaf surface for photosynthesis.
I set them up in a clean 9cm pot, filled with a cuttings compost of 2 parts grit, 1 part vermiculite. It’s easier to dampen the compost first, otherwise it’s hard to make good holes with the dibber.
I dunked each cutting in water, then into rooting hormone powder. Just the cut end needs the powder, any excess was shaken off.
I crammed them all in to one pot, giving them a spritz with fungicide. I’ve put them in the heated bench as bottom heat should help with rooting, but I will need to water them every couple of days to keep them moist.
I’ll be back in a few weeks with an update on rooting.