The towering spires or spikes of Delphinium are to be admired from near and far. How much better if you can increase your stock of a favourite plant by ‘Vegetative Propagation Methods’.
April is a good time to take a cutting from the base of the plant below soil level. Cut out a sturdy 3-4 inch shoot that is about pencil thickness. Too thin and the shoot wont make a sturdy plant and to thick and it will be hard to root. Make sure you get low down taking a shaving of the old root with the cutting. Failing to do this will encourage a rapid but spindly growth that wont last the summer. A bit of hormone rooting powder can be used but the cutting should root quite easily. Pot on or plant out when healthy and strong growth is showing.
In Autumn look at a sturdy plant and with a spade slice off the root by a third leaving two thirds still in the ground. This remnant will have been hardly disturbed and shouldn’t suffer next season. The one third of root shoot have buds or eyes of future shoots. Cut these out as small cuttings, pot up in gritty compost and place in a cool greenhouse or cold frame. Pot on in spring before planting out after May. This a variation on root division that may produce more cuttings but destroys the original plant.
General Comments on Cuttings
- Do not expect cuttings to carry excess leaf. Trim off low leaves to reduce water loss.
- Hollow stems and those taken from to far up the stem do not make good cuttings
- When taking cuttings try not to damage other near-by roots.
- Plant cuttings quickly to avoid wilting. They root best around the edge of a terracotta pot.
- Equal proportions of Peat, Loam and sharp sand make a good sterile cutting medium
- Cuttings should root in 3-4 weeks and be ready to pot on.
- Seeds from Thompson & Morgan
- Growing delphiniums guide