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Heather cuttings

It’s the season for taking stem-tip cuttings of heathers. Kris Collins shows you how to go about it in six easy steps

1) Remove a strong, healthy, non-flowering shoot with clean secateurs, cutting straight across the stem about 4in (10cm) below the tip. Then use a sharp knife to trim the cutting to 2in (5cm) long

2) Strip leaves from the lower third of the cutting. Some gardeners like to pinch out the tips of the cuttings too, this can be helpful to encourage a bushier cutting, but it is not essential

3) Hormone rooting powder is not essential, but the later in the season the cuttings are taken, the quicker rooting may take place if it is used. Dip the ends first in clean water, and then in the powder

4) Fill a 4in (10cm) pot with a mixture of equal parts grit and moist coir or peat-based compost (heathers require an acid growing medium and peat is still the best option for providing this)

5) Eight cuttings should fit into a pot this size. Insert each so lower leaves are just resting on the compost. Water in but don’t firm them in. A heated propagator will speed rooting, but is not essential

6) Instead of a 4in (10cm) pot, you could insert individual cuttings in 3in (7.5cm) pots. The cuttings can then remain in the pot until spring, when they can be planted out, with no need for potting on

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