Where standard stem cuttings prove difficult to root, then heel cuttings usually have a much better success rate. These have a piece of older, parent wood at the base, which is less prone to rotting.
Heel cuttings can be taken from any type of stem - softwood, green wood, semi-ripe and hardwood - and at any time of year.
They are also a useful way of propagating plants with pithy stems.
Ceanothus, Lavandula and Rosmarinus are commonly propagated from heel cuttings.
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Step by step
- Hold the bottom of a suitable sideshoot and pull it down carefully so that it comes away with a ‘heel’ or tail of bark from the main stem.
- Trim the end of the heel with a knife to neaten its end.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom one-third to half of the side shoot.
- Dip the bottom cut end of the cutting in hormone rooting.