Free plants? How to do your own hardwood cuttings.

Between mid-autumn and late winter is the time to take hardwood cuttings. Cuttings can sometimes be a bit hit and miss but I find that these winter cuttings are the easiest to do. I would say that I get an 80% success rate. Hardwood cuttings are suitable for blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants, jostaberries and gooseberries and also garden shrubs like weigela, forsythia, cornus, salix, buddleja and philadelphus.

  • First of all find some tall flower pots and fill with a mixture of 50% compost, 50% sharp sand (I used vermiculite which I think works just as well). Good drainage is vital otherwise the cuttings won’t take.
  • Next choose a healthy stem and cut it as close to the ground or the main plant as you can. Cut the stem into 30 cm sections, making the lower cut straight and just below a bud, and the upper cut slanted, also just above a bud. (This is so you know which way round the cutting should go.)
  • You can dip the bottom end of the cutting into rooting powder (although I have found that it works fine without). Push 2/3 of the cutting into the soil. You can fit a number of cuttings into one pot.
  • Now water and leave outside in a sheltered place. Leave well alone over the winter. When the weather heats up, make sure the cuttings don’t dry out. That’s when I have lost a few cuttings.
  • Try not to disturb the cuttings until late summer when hopefully they should be in leaf. After this point you can separate them and either pot them on or plant them out. You won’t get any fruit from currants and berries until next year.

Here are some blackcurrant cuttings: