Agastache, otherwise known as hyssop, is a wonderful plant that is guaranteed to add a pop of color and a wonderful aroma to your garden. The best thing about this plant is that it can be propagated in several ways, including cutting propagation. If you want to attempt the propagation method, you need to know how to take Agastache cuttings.
To take Agastache cuttings, look for non-flowering stems on the plant and take 3-inch cuts above the leaf node. It’s also vital to take enough stems to guarantee a good return. Not all cuttings might root or grow, so taking a few samples can increase the likelihood of success.
Over the rest of this article, I’ll explain all the different steps you need to take to take Agastache cuttings. I’ll also include some general tips throughout the article to help you with any difficulties you may have during the process.
1. Decide What Type of Cuttings You Will Use
Some Agastache species can only be propagated using cuttings, so the other methods won’t work.
When working with cuttings, you have two main options:
- Semi-hardwood cuttings.
It’s important to remember that cuttings can root at both stages, so one option is not necessarily better than the other. However, softwood cuttings will sometimes have a higher success rate depending on growing conditions.
Softwood cuttings are taken from a young and fresh stem that has just bloomed. As the name suggests, these cuttings are quite soft compared to more mature segments near the base of the plant.
Generally, softwood cuttings are used to propagate different types of shrubs and perennials.
Considering where softwood cuttings come from, it makes sense that this type of propagation usually takes place during spring or early summer. Once the plant has had the chance to produce new stems, you can take and plant them in the soil so they have time to develop before the cold hits.
As you can imagine, semi-hardwood cuttings are not as young as softwood cuttings, but they’re also not as old as hardwood ones either. So, the stem that you will choose for this type of propagation needs to be mature, but it shouldn’t be hardwood yet. Typically, you can propagate most shrubs in this way.
Since semi-hardwood cuttings need to be more mature than softwood, you should take them later in the year. Generally, you can take semi-hardwood cuttings around late summer or fall, when the stems have moved on from their soft stage but aren’t hardwood yet.
2. Decide When To Harvest the Cuttings
There’s no cut-and-dry method to give you an exact time when your Agastache cuttings will be ready for you to take and plant them. You need to understand the right time by observing your plant and testing the stems.
Make a note of when your plant starts to grow new stems, and then keep an eye on it.
Generally, the best time to harvest cuttings is when the new generation stems have matured, but the plant is not actively blooming yet. Once your Agastache starts blooming, the plant refocuses its energy on sexual reproduction, which can cause the roots to grow slower.
The best time of the day to take Agastache cuttings is in the morning, which is when they are fully hydrated and haven’t had the chance to lose any water.
3. Test the Shoots
Before you harvest the cuttings, you need to ensure that they’re mature enough. Harvesting too early or too late can affect the success rate, so timing your cuttings as optimally as possible can make a significant difference.
The best way to test any selected stem is to bend it to check its strength. If you bend the shoot and it doesn’t snap, the stems are not ready for harvesting. If they snap cleanly off the plant, you are ready to take your Agastache cuttings.
4. Choose the Right Shoots
Once you know that you are ready to take the cuttings, you should select the ones that are more likely to grow new roots when they are planted into the new pot. For the best results, choose different cuttings at various stages of growth, so some may be more mature than others.
In addition, you need to choose stems close to the crown, which will ensure that your Agastache plants look good, even after taking the cuttings. The stems you choose should not be flowering.
5. Take the Cuttings
Cut 3-inch(8 cm) stems using a sharp knife or scissors. Make sure to cut above a leaf node. Once you have around 5 to 8 cuttings, which should be enough for one pot, dip them in rooting hormone powder.
6. Prepare the Pot
Once you’ve taken your cuttings, you need to prepare a pot to plant the stems. All you need here is a sturdy planter with drainage holes and a good-quality soilless potting mix.
Fill the pot with enough of your potting mix and water it liberally. The mix needs to be moist but not wet. Once the container is ready, you can continue to harvest the cuttings.
7. Plant the Cuttings
After repeating the above steps with all the cuttings, you should plant them in your well-watered potting mix. Push the stems gently into the mix, making sure about 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm) of them are under the surface.
Keep the pot in a warm place, and make sure the mix is always humid enough but never too wet. Generally, it shouldn’t take more than five or six weeks for the cuttings to develop roots, at which point you can plant each cutting in an individual pot.
Agastache is a great and versatile plant for any garden. You can propagate it using stem cuttings, which is quite easy. You need to consider the best time to take the cuttings. This gives the cuttings the best chance to grow roots. Remember to take multiple cuttings per pot to increase your chances of successful growth.