The Q&A Archives: Biennial Cuttings

Question: If I take a cutting of a biennial in it's second year of growth, will the cutting think it's in it's second year or will it behave as if it's in it's first year of growth? I ask because I like growing lots of pansies, but the price of the new hybrid pansy seeds are quite high. Would a cutting taken from a pansy started from seed the previous summer just die, or would it grow on it's new roots like it was a new plant? Thanks!

Answer: You are asking an interesting question. In my experience most biennials (plants which germinate and grow for one season, winter over, then bloom, set seed and die in the second year) do not propagate well from cuttings. I have had some luck growing second year divisions of some biennials such as foxgloves, but they have stayed in the behavior mode of second year plants, and died the same year.

Annuals, (plants which germinate, bloom and set seed and die all in one year) certainly do not propagate well by cuttings -- if nothing else their life span is too short to make it worth the effort. Pansies are generally considered as annual type bedding plants because they exhaust themselves after a full season of blooming. For that reason alone I don't think it would be worth trying, but you could always experiment!

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