Brian Kidd explains how to make the most of expensive plants by taking cuttings

Petunia Blue Vein  expensive, but ideal for taking cuttings.

Petunia Blue Vein  expensive, but ideal for taking cuttings.

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Wow, aren’t we all busy in the garden! The weeds are growing like mad, the grass needs cutting, a visit to the garden centre offers us all a wonderful choice of plants and we can’t wait for summer. It will be on a Wednesday this year.

Seriously, this is a good time to find seedlings ready for pricking out at the garden centre.

Buy some universal potting compost and some cells and grow them along in a light place. Growing your own saves a lot of money and is satisfying too.

A lot of plants for summer flowering which are already planted by garden centres in three-inch pots look expensive.

For example the wonderfully-perfumed petunia Blue Vein are about £1.25 each. This seems a lot of money but you only need three to fill a 16in hanging basket and they will flower their socks off all summer. If the dead flowers and seed heads are removed regularly, they will flower until November.

The great thing is that cuttings can be taken off the original plant. How do you do this?

Buy the plant in a three-inch diameter pot. Water it when the compost feels dry and give it some Maxicrop All Purpose plant food diluted in water and it will grow well.

In less than three weeks in the greenhouse it will produce lots of side shoots. It is these which can be taken as cuttings and here’s how you do it.

Cut off shoots about three inches long. Remove the lower leaves and cut the stem just below a leaf joint (node) and insert the cuttings into any potting compost. When doing this scatter half-an-inch of potting sand over the surface of the tray in which the cuttings are to be inserted.

Water with a fine rose on the watering can and put a piece of newspaper over the top of the cuttings. They will root in about two or three weeks.

Once rooted, pot each rooted cutting into a three-inch diameter pot and you should have five plants for the price of one.

This method can be used for lots of expensive plants such as scaevola, Japanese petunias, verbena Sissinghurst Pink, bidens and all kinds of basket plants.

Now is the time to do it. Remember, buy the plants and take the cuttings.

Prick out the seedlings of F1 hybrid plants such as geraniums and busy Lizzies but keep them in the greenhouse.

Jack Frost is still around while the hawthorn is still in flower and that will last for a few more weeks yet.

Buy the plants now, but protect them from a frost.

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Seriously, this is a good time to find seedlings ready for pricking out at the garden centre.

Buy some universal potting compost and some cells and grow them along in a light place. Growing your own saves a lot of money and is satisfying too.

A lot of plants for summer flowering which are already planted by garden centres in three-inch pots look expensive.

For example the wonderfully-perfumed petunia Blue Vein are about £1.25 each. This seems a lot of money but you only need three to fill a 16in hanging basket and they will flower their socks off all summer. If the dead flowers and seed heads are removed regularly, they will flower until November.

The great thing is that cuttings can be taken off the original plant. How do you do this?

Buy the plant in a three-inch diameter pot. Water it when the compost feels dry and give it some Maxicrop All Purpose plant food diluted in water and it will grow well.

In less than three weeks in the greenhouse it will produce lots of side shoots. It is these which can be taken as cuttings and here’s how you do it.

Cut off shoots about three inches long. Remove the lower leaves and cut the stem just below a leaf joint (node) and insert the cuttings into any potting compost. When doing this scatter half-an-inch of potting sand over the surface of the tray in which the cuttings are to be inserted.

Water with a fine rose on the watering can and put a piece of newspaper over the top of the cuttings. They will root in about two or three weeks.

Once rooted, pot each rooted cutting into a three-inch diameter pot and you should have five plants for the price of one.

This method can be used for lots of expensive plants such as scaevola, Japanese petunias, verbena Sissinghurst Pink, bidens and all kinds of basket plants.

Now is the time to do it. Remember, buy the plants and take the cuttings.

Prick out the seedlings of F1 hybrid plants such as geraniums and busy Lizzies but keep them in the greenhouse.

Jack Frost is still around while the hawthorn is still in flower and that will last for a few more weeks yet.

Buy the plants now, but protect them from a frost.

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