Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Autumn Cuttings

It’s such a spidery time of year now that I have had trouble finding spider-free pots for my cuttings. It doesn’t seem like the right time for cuttings, while everything is slowly but surely grinding to a halt. Perhaps it isn’t. I meant to do this in August.


The idea is to keep my half hardy flowering things going through winter. I bought half hardy salvias last autumn as small plants from Derry Watkins Special Plants and she told me at the time that the way to keep them was to take cutting in late summer. You can’t start too early. You want them as small plants. My heart sank at the time as I know this sort of split second gardening usually defies me, and so it has turned out.

But they really have done the ‘flowering all summer’ thing that they were meant to do, in really fabulous colours, filling and spilling out of pots, and so I am keen to have a go even if it is a little late. So I hunted through my pots yesterday, found four that weren’t homes to alarmingly territorial spiders or nests of tiny ones or both, filled the with seed compost and took cuttings. I haven’t put them in a heated propagator as I want them tough. They are in the greenhouse, although i did pop them into a little terrarium I bought some time ago – which I never planted up and which the kids use to make worm homes and the like – to give them a little extra protection and create a little bit of a microclimate. You can do the same with other half hardy bedding plants. Pelargoniums should generally be overwintered as little rooted cuttings in late summer too, although they may need more warmth than my salvias. And you should have taken them a month ago.