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Propagate Perennials with Softwood Stem Cuttings

Increase your heirloom perennial plant collection with softwood stem cuttings. 

Try this technique on non-patented chrysanthemums, balloon flower, penstemon, phlox and salvia.  Use a sharp knife to cut 3- to 6-inch-long pieces from firm mature non-woody stem tips. Remove the lowest leaf and dip the cut end in a rooting hormone labeled for use on herbaceous plants.

Select a small container with drainage holes and fill with a quality potting mix.  Punch a small hole in the planting medium, then insert the cutting.  Gently tamp the potting mix to tuck the cutting in place.

Water thoroughly and place the potted cutting in a plastic bag.  Set in a bright location out of direct sunlight. Once the cuttings produce new growth you can move them into a protected spot in the garden. Wait until they are well rooted to move it to its permanent location.

A bit more information:  Avoid propagating patented plants that are protected by patent laws.  These are designed to protect the investment of the breeder. Respecting these laws allows companies to continue breeding improvements into plants for all of us to enjoy in the future.

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Upcoming Webinars & Appearances


August 4 - 14
Wisconsin State Fair

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Sept. 10
Pasquesi Home & Gardens

Sept. 24
Ebert's Greenhouse Village

Sept. 25
Historic Milwaukee Doors Open
at Sanger House Gardens

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Oct. 26

Webinar: Year-round Perennial
Garden Maintenance


Nov. 2
Webinar: Boosting the Beauty of
and Propagating Houseplants


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