How to Take Semi-Ripe Cuttings
These are gathered later in summer when the bases of the stems are firmer. You can pull off side shoots with a little tear or "heel" of stem, and they will root in about ten weeks, or the following spring. This method is used mainly for evergreen shrubs, like boxwood (Buxus), and woody herbs, such as sage (Salvia).
- flowering maple
- California lilac
- Mexican orange blossom
- Oregon grapeholly
Choose a Healthy Stem
Select shoot tips or side shoots that are firm at the base, soft and leafy at the top. Cut just below a leaf joint or gently pull side shoots downward to leave a heel of stem tissue still attached.
Prepare the Stem
Use a sharp, sterilized knife to trim off the soft shoot tip just above a leaf joint. Discard this section. Removing the shoot tip helps reduce moisture loss from the cutting.
Remove Lower Leaves
Remove the leaves and side shoots from the lower half of the cutting, and trim back any heels at the base that are particularly long. If your cutting has no heel, simulate one by cutting a 1-in. slice from one side of the stem.
Dip the cut ends in hormone rooting powder. Either root in pots of moist cutting soil mix, inserting them up to the base of the lower leaves, or set hardy types, such as boxwood 3 inches apart in sandy soil in a cold frame.
Place your pots of cuttings in a covered propagator set to 64–70 degrees F, or seal them in clear plastic bags, propped up with sticks to keep the plastic off the leaves. Keep soil moist. Harden off, and plant out once rooted.