I took a lot of hardwood cuttings last winter, some from my garden, some from neighbours.  So, what has survived?  Not a lot, to be honest.  More than ever before, however, so I shouldn’t be too negative about it, but less then I’d hoped.


Rosa ‘danse de feu’. Four of these made it through the months since taking the cuttings back at the end of November last year. I’ve positioned them where I want them in Border 2 but have left them in their pots for now, I want them to develop a vigorous root network before planting them out properly. Two are now pretty big plants, flowering too, these were in the greenhouse for rooting.


The other two are potted up and doing nicely, they were outside for rooting. I think I’ll leave them in their pots over the winter and plant them out early next year.


I’m pretty pleased with this return overall, I’d say about 50% success rate for these rose cuttings.  I have some other roses I bought recently that I now feel confident about increasing with this method.

Weigela.  Two of these rooted successfully.  I potted them up a while back, and this week potted them on to larger pot, giving them a little prune for shape. Both are producing fresh top growth and both have an excellent root network.

Success rate was low though, I think there were well over 10 of these weigela cuttings, so at best 20%.  Still, the survivors are good little plants, and free too.  I’ll keep them in pots till next spring before deciding what to do with them. I may need to pot them on to larger pots once more.

For the next few cuttings, I was planning a tale of restraint, a patient waiting for roots to show in numbers through the bottom of the pot.  Very virtuous.  In a rush of propagating blood to the head, however, I was unable to resist turning several out.  In my defence there was a lot of top growth, and signs of roots at the bottom of some large pots. I thought I would be safe enough.  I had foolishly put multiple varieties of cuttings in the same large pot.  Several of those varieties came to nothing, I ended up with 3 varieties looking like successful cuttings.


Given my rush to de-pot I had no choice other than tipping them all out at once.  Here goes…

Perovskia. There were two viable looking stems, and both had a decent although far from impressive set of roots.  I’ve potted them on in 1.5 litre pots, using multi-purpose compost.  I gave the stems a bit of a trim to encourage a good shape and to reduce a little the stress on the plant from being moved on.

Eleagnus quicksilver.  Just one stem remained from this group.  It has rooted well.  I’m looking forward to planting this out next spring, for a bit of evergreen colour and interest.  Not sure where yet…

Hydrangea ‘anabelle’.  Two viable stems, both rooted well, it turned out.  Duly potted on.

Abelia grandiflora.  There was just one stem with good top growth, including some new leaves, usually a good sign of rooting.  Sadly, this is the one cutting in this group where my enthusiasm hasn’t paid off.  There were no roots.  I apologised profusely for disturbing it and hurriedly repotted it.  I suspect it will sulk and then die off.  Oh well.


Phyoscarpia opulifolius  This fella had a very impressive root network, best of the bunch.  It shows how random the “bottom of the pot root test” is. (If you spotted this as a desparate attempt to retrospectively justify my impatience, dead right!). Where was I.  Ah yes, there were a couple of weedy roots emerging from the pot, which might have been offputting to a less foolhardy propagator. Inside, though, a veritable forest of lovely roots.


Cornus alba.  These were doing nicely, lots of top growth. I ended up with four good plants, with adequate roots, I’ve potted them all up.  No idea where I’m going to put them in the spring.  I might plant a few in the front garden with the intention of coppicing them down to the ground each year, rather than letting them grow into big shrubs. That should mean I get a good thicket of bright red stems that will provide some interest in the winter.  If I play my cards right, I can also use all those pruned stems as supports for perennials coming back into growth.



These are mixed bunch. Some of these teased with a flush of top growth then faded away, or rooted but then died for some reason, likely my mishandling, who knows.  Some did nothing at all, dead sticks from the off.  It’s a pity, there were some nice shrubs I hoped to get from these stems, all from a garden raid resulting from an appeal I put out on our local Freegle board. I’m going to do the same again this winter. Shameless!

The notable failures were as follows:

  • Salvia “hot lips”
  • Exochordia “the bride”
  • Daphne alba
  • Wysteria
  • Abutilon “Kentish belle”
  • Trachelospermum jasmine
  • Cotinus smoke bush
  • Rubus cockburnianus –
  • Rosa jacques cartier


I think I can refine my equipment, cuttings compost and technique for betters hardwood cuttings success, so I will definitely looking for more this coming winter.

I’ll be back!