I am writing this article on election day, November 8th, 2016.
The plants right in front of Cathy are Annabelle Hydrangea. We stuck those cuttings last November, potted them up in late June and I took this photo in October. They bloomed like crazy this summer and we sold a bunch of them this fall for $5.97 each.
The date, the time of year that I am sharing this, is important because here at Mike’s Plant Farm in Perry, Ohio we are patiently waiting for a good hard freeze so we can start sticking our hardwood cuttings. As soon as we get that first night when the temperatures dip down below 28 degrees and stay there for a few hours that triggers plants into dormancy. Then it’s game on!
What time of year can you do Hydrangea Cuttings?
Propagation season for Hydrangeas starts around June 1st in most parts of the country and ends around March 1st. In other words, the only time you can’t do them is in the spring when they are putting on all kinds of new growth. We really don’t propagate anything in the spring.
However, summer time cuttings are very fragile and need special conditions to survive. Winter time cuttings are tough as nails and require very little attention as you will see.
The propagation technique that I am about to show you can be used for all kinds of hydrangea. We are doing Nikko Blue, All Summer Beauty, Forever Pink, Oak Leaf, and Annabelle.
As we remove the cutting from the plant we are cutting right below a leaf node, or bud union. That’s more important with hardwood cuttings that it is with softwood cuttings but to be sure to get the best results I suggest you do it this way. Of course ideally we should have cut just about the next bud union down so as to not leave a dead twig sticking up on our stock plant. The section of stem between the two bud unions really needs to be thrown away because it will die back once we make this cut.
In all honesty when we are collecting the wood to make our cuttings we pay little attention to that and just gather the wood then once we get the wood inside on the work table we make the cuttings exactly as we want them.
Since hydrangea cuttings are so big we give them a little trim before we stick the cuttings. We stick our cuttings close together and they do need air circulation around the leaves so the leaves can dry. Leaves that are constantly wet just invite disease.
The only thing left to do is dip the cutting in a rooting compound. Or not. Rooting compounds help but many things root just fine without them. I usually use a rooting compound because it costs me almost nothing to use them so why not? Any kind is fine, they all work about the same, liquid, powder or gel.
I use Dip and Grow because it’s a liquid and I can change the strength as needed for the different seasons. Softwood cuttings need a weaker solution that do hardwood cuttings. With a powder you have to buy the strength you need.
We stick our cuttings in a very coarse kind of sand. Since we don’t apply water on a regular basis to our hardwood cutting some of them go into sand others will go into the potting soil that we use. In this bed you can see the Spray Nozzles that We Use to Wet Our Softwood Cuttings.
In the far bed in this photo you can see the Hydrangea cuttings that we stuck in early October. Since we did them then we’ve had to keep them wet. Had we waited until they were dormant that wouldn’t have been necessary. The cuttings right in front of the camera are some Annabelle Hydrangea and Oak Leaf Hydrangea that we stuck in July. They are well rooted and in bloom.
Off to the right you can see some Emerald Green Arborvitae sneaking into the picture. Those cuttings have been in that bed for almost two years! Since evergreens are slow growing I’ll often just leave them in the propagation bed for an extra growing season to let them beef up a little.
For the record! This is for our members. I should have fertilized those Emerald Green since I left them in the sand for so long. But guess what? I did not. Not a drop. Never got around to it. We just potted them up a few days ago and they are beautiful. They rooted into the soil below the bed and got a little nutrition that way but even with no fertilizer at all they did fine.
When we stuck these cuttings we did three different varieties so we left a big gap between each variety. Here in a week or two we’ll go back and stick something completely different in those gaps. Probably Purple Sandcherry.
I said we stick them close together. Each cutting gets about one square inch. At least that’s my goal. This bed is about 44″ wide and there should be at least 40 cuttings in each row. The rows are probably about 1.5″ apart.
Me and The Donkeys made a video for you as well. We shot this awhile back.
Questions or comments? Post them below.