The Q&A Archives: Cuttings From Skimmia Confusa X Kew Green

Question: I have a plant in my garden called Skimmia confusa x Kew Green, this was planted in memory of my cat who we lost a couple of years ago, however I am planning on moving this year and did not want to disturb the shrub but would like to take a cutting to grow on and take with me, can you advise on the best way and time to do this.

Answer: Skimmia can be propagated by greenwood cuttings in late spring, softwood or semi-ripe cuttings from late spring to late summer, or hardwood cuttings from autumn to late winter.

Softwood cuttings are of new growth that is not yet firm. They should be about two inches long, with two-three pairs of leaves at the top of the stem. Insert the cuttings into the planting medium, just up to the lowest leaves. Rooting hormone may be used, but is not essential. If possible, place the cuttings in a covered environment (a mini greenhouse, or put plastic over the container) and provide bottom heat.

Semi-ripe cuttings from the current season's growth that has begun to firm. The cutting's base should be quite hard, while the tip should be growing and still soft. Use 2 1/2 - 4 inches, and remove side shoots. Make a shallow wound on the stem by cutting away a thin piece of bark (1/2 inch long). This stimulates rooting. Dip in a rooting hormones and insert in a soilless potting mix. Provide a humid environment.

Hardwood cuttings are taken in when the plant is dormant in late autumn or late winter just before bud break. Cut about 12-24 inches of healthy growth. Cut the shoot at the union of the one- and two-year old wood. Bundle up to 10 cuttings with a piece of twine; dip the base into rooting hormone; insert the bundle into a box or bed of sand and put in a sheltered place or cold frame over winter. They should root by spring. Keep sand moist, but not wet.

If you have time, you might want to try a couple of these methods to increase your chances of success. I am a cat lover, as well, so wish you luck!

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