Salvia is an attractive flowering plant that is popular in gardens and landscapes. However, taking and propagating salvia cuttings is a great option if you want to propagate your salvia plants and have an abundance of them on hand.
Taking salvia cuttings after mid-summer may be too late to ensure successful rooting. Instead, taking cuttings during spring, autumn, and winter ensures that the plant has sufficient time to take root and get established in its new environment before the summer heat sets in.
Taking salvia cuttings has several benefits, including the ability to propagate various types of salvia plants and an accelerated growth rate compared to growing from seed. Read on to learn more about when it’s too late to take salvia cuttings.
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Can You Take Salvia Cuttings in the Fall?
You can absolutely take salvia cuttings in the fall. During fall, you can easily propagate new growth on almost all species of the salvia plant. The temperatures in fall are cool enough for salvia to put their energy into forming new roots, and the days are still long enough for photosynthesis.
When taking salvia cuttings in the fall:
- You should look for young and healthy stems that are not flowering.
- Ensure you take cuttings from the top of the plant.
- Cut just below a node, leaving at least two nodes on the cutting.
See our guide on Should You Cut Back Salvias After Flowering?
With this method, you can expect your cuttings to root quickly and reliably.
Once you have your cuttings:
- Prepare them for planting by removing the lower leaves and dipping the bottom of the cutting into root hormone (source).
- You can use well-draining potting soil to plant your cuttings, ensuring the two nodes are just below the surface.
- Water your cuttings immediately, ensuring they are moist but not too wet.
- Place your cuttings in a warm and sunny spot, such as a windowsill or greenhouse.
If you live in a colder climate, consider growing them indoors to give them some protection from temperature changes and wind. Once your cuttings have taken root and the weather is warm enough, you can move them to their permanent outdoor home. The best time to do this is late spring or early summer.
How Late Into the Season Can You Take Salvia Cuttings?
Taking salvia cuttings late in the season can be tricky, but it is possible. In general, you should take salvia cuttings before summer hits its peak. Taking cuttings early in the season will give them ample time to establish roots before cooler temperatures arrive.
The best time for taking salvia cuttings is in the spring, around late March or early April. This gives the plants time to establish roots before summer temperatures become too hot.
This is especially important for young plants that may be more sensitive to heat and drought conditions.
Cuttings taken after mid-summer may or may not have time to establish roots before cooler temperatures arrive. If you wait too long, the cuttings could lose their leaves or be killed by frost. If you take cuttings late in the season, protect them from extreme temperatures and provide plenty of water.
Note that not all salvia varieties are suitable for late-season cuttings. Some may become too brittle or dry out too quickly, making it harder for them to root. Before taking late-season cuttings, research the species you wish to propagate.
How To Successfully Take Salvia Cuttings
To successfully take salvia cuttings, you should understand the best time to do so. The ideal times are from early spring until early summer when the plant is actively growing and putting out new shoots. Here’s the right way to take salvia cuttings:
- The first step is to locate a healthy stem that has no signs of disease or damage. Cut the stem below a node and a small indentation on the stem where leaves emerge. Make sure the cut is clean and sharp, and remove any leaves from the bottom of the stem.
- Next, prepare a shallow container filled with moist potting soil. Insert the cut end of the stem into the container about 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) deep, and ensure that the soil is well-compacted around it. Water the soil gently but thoroughly.
- Place the container in a warm and bright spot with full sun exposure but without direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist by checking it daily and occasionally misting it.
- The cuttings should form roots in a few weeks, and new growth should be visible. You can transplant the cutting into a larger container or the ground (source).
Conditions Necessary for Salvia Cuttings To Root Successfully
For salvia cuttings to root successfully, a few key conditions need to be met. These include the following:
- Water: Your salvia cuttings will need to be moist but not too wet. You should water them regularly and ensure good drainage so the roots don’t stay too wet. The water should be of good quality, such as rainwater or distilled water.
- Temperature: The ideal temperature for salvia cuttings to root is between 68–77°F (20–25°C) (source). This temperature range should be maintained during the day and night. You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature, as this will help you make sure that it does not get too hot or too cold.
- Soil and fertilizer: Salvia cuttings should be planted in a well-draining soil mix, such as a mixture of soil, sand, and perlite. You could also add fertilizer to the mix if you wish. This will help promote healthy root growth.
- Light: Salvia cuttings need full sun for about eight hours daily (source). If you are planting indoors, ensure that the plant receives plenty of light from the sun or a grow light. The grow light should be kept at an appropriate distance, so the plant is not scorched by heat.
- Air circulation: Good air circulation is important for salvia cuttings to root successfully. This can be achieved by providing adequate ventilation, such as a fan or window. Additionally, you should not plant the cuttings too close together, as this will reduce air circulation.
Salvia cuttings can be a great way to propagate your favorite varieties of salvia, but you should understand when the best time to take them is.
Late-season cuttings can be successful, but they should only be attempted with certain varieties of salvia and with the right conditions. Ensure to monitor your salvia cuttings carefully, and provide them with plenty of water, light, and air circulation to ensure successful rooting.