Hardwood Cutting Propagation - by Allan Little


Hibiscus strike readily from cuttings and will normally root in 4-6 weeks. Hardwood cuttings are usually taken in Spring-Summer (all year round if you're lucky to have a hot-house).


Use straight wood, pencil thickness or a little larger. Remove all the leaves with secateurs and trim to approximately 4-6 inches long. With a sharp knife or secateurs, make a cut at about 45 degrees just below the eye or node at the base of the cutting. The base can be "wounded" by taking a sliver off the stem to expose the cambium layer 1-2 inches on one or two sides, a procedure aimed at increasing the area from which roots will be produced.


The next step before potting is to apply a rooting hormone in powder, liquid or gel form. This step is optional but, if used, will promote earlier striking and a more vigorous root growth. The cuttings are usually placed in individual propagating tubes or small pots.


Place cuttings in the shadehouse to protect them from wind and to prevent their drying out. Cuttings will root quite well in coarse river sand but the risk of this drying out is high and it is safer to add a little peat or perlite to the medium to hold moisture. However, various mixtures of perlite, peat and perlite, peat and sand, etc., have all been successful.


Once the cuttings have struck, they can be potted on into larger pots using a good quality potting mix.