What is a cutting and how to do it: step by step guide

Posted On:

Categories: Mary´s Advice ,

Author: Adrián Medina Alarcón

What is a cutting and what is it for?

A cutting consists of removing a piece of a live plant to place it on another plant or in a pot.

There are several reasons to make a cutting, but broadly speaking we have:

  • Multiply certain species of plants.
  • Create specimens with specific resistance to certain diseases and/or pests (for example, it is very common to combine a watermelon cutting with a pumpkin base or “cutting holder,” because this reinforces the natural defenses of the watermelon).

In any case, it is a widely used reproduction process.

What type of plants reproduce by cutting?

Many species (although not all) support reproduction by cutting. Among them we have:

  • Trees and shrubs: both evergreen and deciduous.
  • Herbaceous plants: using a healthy branch.
  • Indoor plants: it is used especially with those with rigid stems, which are easier to manipulate.

1. The step-by-step process to make a cutting

Here we are going to focus on explaining how to make a cutting with a pot. And this is the easiest method if you have never done one before.

2. Cut a part of the plant

Start by cutting a stem or a newly sprouted branch from the plant you want to multiply.

Make sure it is a healthy branch, so it can root and develop properly.

For small plants or even shrubs, it is normal for the cutting to measure no more than 10 centimeters. For larger species, you can cut a larger piece.

Also, make sure you have sharp and disinfected scissors to make a clean cut and prevent the plant wound from becoming infected.

3. Clean the cutting

If the branch you cut has leaves or flower buds, be sure to remove them.

These types of shoots absorb nutrients from the plant, and will make it more difficult for it to root and develop.

Before planting it, you can also apply a rooting agent at the base of the cutting. This substance promotes root growth.

4. Prepare the pot you are going to use

Fill the pot in which you are going to plant the cutting with substrate. Use a mixture of soil and organic matter to give the new plant the nutrients it will need to grow.

There are some species that root better when submerged in water. Find out well about the needs of the plant you want to multiply to know how to do it in the best way.