What are the three types of cuttings?

softwood cutting that is starting to take root
A soft cutting, after it has been planted for a while, then pulled out and washed off so you can see that it is rooting correctly.

QUESTION: What are the three types of cuttings? I’ve heard of green cuttings, but then someone told me there are two other types and I’m not sure what they’re talking about. A cutting is a cutting, isn’t it? – Angela E

ANSWER: There are three main types of cuttings and one subcategory. The first type of cutting is herbaceous which is also known as a green cutting. This is a cutting from an herbaceous plant which means it’s mainly made of foliage and soft stems.

When utilizing these cuttings, you should remove the leaves from the bottom portion. These are typically used for propagating annuals, and they root quickly.

The next type of cutting is a softwood cutting. You’ll find these on plants with woody stems. They’ll occur where new growth is happening.

Softwood cuttings occur as the plant moves towards maturity. They’re generally harvested in late spring through the middle of summer.

These cuttings will have a crisp snap to them when broken. Many gardeners like to work with this type of cutting because they root quickly as well. The key to propagating with softwood cuttings is ensuring they remain moist.

The subcategory of softwood cuttings is semi-hardwood. These cuttings come from trees that are in the middle of maturing. They host mature leaves, and the wood is slightly firm, as the name suggests. Semi-hardwood cuttings are most used to propagate evergreen shrubs.

Our final type of cutting is hardwood. These are taken from mature plants that are in dormancy. You may harvest hardwood cuttings in fall, winter, or early spring.

The wood of these cuttings is hard and won’t bend easily. These cuttings are most used to propagate evergreens and deciduous shrubs.

You now know the three main categories of cuttings. This information should help you distinguish what type of cutting should work best for which plant, should you choose to propagate your own plants.

Propagating plants is a great skill to develop as it gives you more control over the health of the plants added to your property. Plus, it can save you a bundle.

Learn More About Types of Cuttings




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