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  • Sue

Simple step by step guide

The popular shrubby salvia is really easy to propagate and now is the time to do it. If your friend has a nice example of Hot Lips (the one with red and white flowers) and you would like some for yourself.....this is what to do.

(NB The example below is not Hot Lips. This is the most common variety and you will find it everywhere. It is my go-to cheap and easy space filler in the garden.)

1. Cut or nip out with your fingers several sprigs of leaves which have no flowers on them and plenty of leaves. The sprigs should be about 7 cm long and you should nip them off the parent plant just BELOW a pair of leaves.

2. Then remove the bottom pair of leaves. They will each look like this:

3. As quickly as you can put the cuttings into a container of water - I find a clear container such as a glass works best. if you cannot get them into water immediately then carry them home in a sealed polythene bag. You are trying to stop them wilting from a lack of water.

4. Remove the top leaves so you are left with something like this:

This serves two purposes - less leaves means less risk of the cutting wilting and dying (because it doesn't have to work so hard at transpiration). Plus you are discouraging the growth of flower buds. Cuttings must never have flowers or develop flowers while you are trying to root them. If they do this, the cutting will direct all of its energy into flower and seed formation at the expense of root formation - so always remove flower buds and flowers.

5. Put your glass of cuttings on a windowsill out of direct sunlight and leave them there, watching them closely for a week or two.

6. Most of your cuttings will develop fine white roots. Some will, inevitably, fail.

7.The picture above was only taken yesterday, so no roots have developed yet, but as soon as I have a nice little tuft of strongly growing roots - but before they have all tangled themselves into one almighty mess at the bottom of the glass - I will pot the cuttings on, individually, into small pots. I use a seedling and cutting compost ("semis and boutures" in French).

8. Keep them in a cool and sheltered place outside (hardening off as appropriate) and once the plants are growing away strongly and you see roots protruding from the bottom of the pot you can plant them out in the garden.

9. You will have flowers by late summer this year.

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