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Evergreens are normally propagated from late summer to autumn from very ripe wood that is almost hardwood. They cannot be treated as true hardwood cuttings, as they still have leaves and are not truly dormant.

Most evergreens can also be propagated from softer wood earlier in the year, and these are treated according to the condition of the wood - softwood, greenwood or semi-ripe.

Step by step

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  • Remove a strong, healthy shoot and trim just below a bud. For plants that are difficult to root, take heel cuttings.
  • Leave the top or apical growth bud intact, unless the top of the stem is still soft, in which case remove the soft tip and cut down the stem to just above a bud.
Evergreens | Copyright GreenPlantSwap Ltd
  • Remove the leaves from the bottom one-third to half of the cutting.
  • Plants that have very large or awkward leaves should have the leaf area reduced, by cutting leaves in half horizontally.
Evergreens | Copyright GreenPlantSwap Ltd
  • Removing a 2.5cm (1in) long, thin vertical sliver of bark from the bottom of the cutting will help plants that are difficult to root, including [Ceanothus](plants/3906-ceanothus), [Daphne](plants/6268-daphne) and [Elaeagnus](plants/7080-elaeagnus).
  • Dip the bottom cut end of the cutting in hormone rooting.
  • Insert the cutting into a large, deep pot of cuttings compost, so that the bottom leaves are in contact with the compost.
  • Mist the cuttings with a fungicide.
  • Place the pot in a cold frame or other protected area where the aerial environment can be kept warm and moist; a large propagator will be fine, but tight-fitting polythene bags or plastic covers are best avoided.
  • Alternatively, when propagating a large number of cuttings, prepare the soil in the base of a cold frame, digging in plenty of organic matter and sharp sand to produce a good cuttings medium.
  • Shade the propagator or cold frame with a shading wash, shade netting or horticultural fleece during sunny weather. Keep the compost moist during dry spells. Spray occasionally with a fungicide.
  • Protect the cuttings from frost and cold weather, insulating cold frames wherever necessary.
  • Cuttings will usually have rooted within 12 months.
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