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Frugal Gardening: Save Money Propagating Plants from Cuttings

By Edited Jan 29, 2016 3 8

Collect Cuttings from your Friends

Propagate from cuttings

How often have you driven down your street and envied your neighbors beautiful gardens? I think we all have at times. This does not mean we have to grow a great garden. Instead, we need to learn a few frugal gardening techniques to improve our gardens, so they look beautiful too.

Frugal Gardening-Ficus plants are ideal to grow from cuttings

I know we have to save water where possible, and we can do this by becoming more water wise and planting natives will encourage this. I still miss the beautiful variegated shrubs and plants that thrive on water. Although, these plants often need extra care and are not cheap to buy either.

I intend to show you in this article how to save money growing your own for little or no outlay at all. Next time you visit your friends, admire their gardens. Then, hit them for cuttings from their plants. It is that simple to get started.

The Dianthus, Pelargonium, Salvia, Verbena, Viola, Chrysanthemum and the Delphinium are ideal plants to grow from cuttings.

This is where you have to get your hands dirty.

Ideal Plants for Cuttings

Collect old growth stem cuttings

Collect your cuttings, during the milder weather, before the flowering season has finished. Avoid planting your cuttings during the frosts unless you plant indoors.

It is important to start with good strong non-flowering stems. Trim each cutting below the lowest joint and then remove all the lower leaves, leaving a couple on the top. This will put the strength back into the stem for re-growth.

Prepare your pots or garden bed with good seed or potting mix. Water well and leave to drain while you prepare the cuttings. To encourage root growth, I dip the bottom of my cuttings into a rooting powder (use the hard or softwood) depending on the type of wood stems you are planting.

Frugal Gardening - Collect strong stems for your cuttings


If you would prefer you can grow many plants from seed just as successfully

Planting the cuttings

Insert a stick into the seed mix to form a hole, then push cutting into that hole. Press soil firm around cutting. Allow room for stems to shoot without overcrowding.

Frugal Gardening - Growing Mozzi Buster from cutting


Do not water cuttings for a couple of days. Water from below by filling a saucer with water until the surface is moist. Mould could form on these cuttings from overhead watering. Never cover with plastic covering for the same reason.

Transplant into other containers or pots when cuttings have substantial growth and more established plants.

Plant Propagation Manual

American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques
Amazon Price: $19.64 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 29, 2016)
Learn more about the wonders of propagating from other peoples plants and save spending money at the nurseries

Germination Station

Hydrofarm CK64050 Germination Station with Heat Mat
Amazon Price: $34.99 $23.24 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 29, 2016)
These are ideal to start growing your plants and seedlings. It will keep the bugs away and keep the plants moist at the same time.

How to Propagate from Root Cuttings

Divide plants at root

Laying thin root Cuttings on top of soil

Dig your plant out when dormant and wash the roots. Cut the thin yet solid roots off close to the crown with a sharp knife or secateurs. Cut each one about eight centimetres long. Cut them straight across the top and on a slant at the base. Push the slanted end of cuttings right down into a pot of seed mix, leaving about half an inch above the surface.

Top this with some coarse sand and place indoors or in a greenhouse. Once they develop leaves transfer into each pot and water well.

NOTE: Lay thin root cuttings flat on the surface of moist soil mix. Finish by covering with a little more seed mix.

The Acanthus, Geranium, Phlox and Primula are all suitable plants to grow from root cuttings.

You can also grow herbs like Rosemary and Lavender from cuttings too.

Herbs: Rosemary Cuttings
 Now you have no more excuses for not having a great garden and it should not have cost you the earth to make.

There is another way of creating more plants and that is by dividing them up to make more.  For instance, you can learn how to divide one Bird fern plant into four individual plants.

You might also want to do more frugal gardening by growing your own potatoes.  

Bromeliades is another beautiful plant that you can grow cheaply.  You can grow these from the pup that shoots up from the bottom of the old plant

Happy gardening.

Growing Plants from Cuttings

Hanging Garden

The Urban Garden-vertical planter, hanging garden
Amazon Price: $29.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 29, 2016)
These are ideal if you are short of room or if you have a barren wall that needs added color. Great for small plants and flowers

Grow fruit trees from cuttings

Growing Passion Vines from Cuttings

Did you know you could also grow passion vines from a cutting?  It is as simple as taking a cutting, then trim off the extra leaves.  Leave two or three leaves at the top to encourage growth. 

Damp the base of cutting and dip into some hormone growth powder or gel, then plant in good seed raising soil.  Cover with a plastic seal proof bag.  Remove plastic to water. 

Growing Succulents from Cuttings

If you live in a hard dry area or often away from home then try planting more succulents. Cacti or most succulents will survive in all sorts of weather.

As we travel a lot we have decided to go down this road.  A friend offered us the opportunity of taking lots of cuttings from her garden, which we gratefully accepted.  We spent 4 hours potting all these and others up. 

Succulent cuttings

A variety of succulents, even a leaf will grow.

Extra Succulent Cuttings

The following images will give you ideas for other plants that you can grow from cuttings.

Variety of Different Cuttings

Beware of Frosts

A word of warning - I have lost a few of these because we had severe frosts for a week.  My own fault, I should have covered them up although I did think that succulents were hardy plants and would survive all weathers. I was wrong.[1]



Nov 19, 2013 4:12pm
Very nice I have not been successful as of yet doing this so this article gave me some advise i needed
Nov 19, 2013 7:27pm
Thanks Makinggoodsense, I hope you give it a go as it does save you a lot of money buying from nurseries. Plants are getting more and more expensive.
Dec 18, 2013 11:43pm
I often fail to get cuttings to grow. Sometimes they just take off, especially in summer. Could you explain why Artemisia cuttings are so fickle? Perhaps I have been over watering - mmmmmm. Thanks for the tips - and cuttings.
Dec 19, 2013 1:56am
Thanks Elize, It could be a lot of different things. Some plants need more fertilizer than others Use a soiler tester to see if there is a problem with that. We have lost a lot this summer as so very hot too. Do you use the rooting powder on your cuttings?
Dec 22, 2013 11:31pm
I used rooting powder. But I think the mistake was too much water. I tried again, but no luck. Same cuttings, same soil. But one fo the sacred basil slips took well. I covered it with the top end of a plastic water bottle - lid off.
Jan 17, 2014 4:29am
Thank Elize, I have found that some of mine are hit and miss this year, although I believe it is because of the excessive heat we have had this year, I have lost a lot of healthy plants too.
Jan 18, 2014 12:57pm
Herbs are easy - tear up some roots when you take the herb out of your friends garden and put the plant in to the ground back home, water. I have thriving peppermint and mint from doing this. Also strawberries.
My frangipani stick/tree has finally come along - I just broke off a small stumpy branch from my family frangipani tree and stuck it into some potting mix. it has some nice shoots coming up.
anything more complicated than sticking something into the ground or some potting mix means I probably won't do it!!
Jan 19, 2014 5:21pm
Sounds like you have done well. I think it is just a waste of money buying many plants and vegies in punnets when you can grown them easy from friends gardens. Then you can share your produce around with your neighbors if you have too many. thanks Bluecitylady
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  1. Wikepedia "Cuttings (plant)." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutting_(plant). 2016.

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