Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia), which are considered Herbaceous Plants, can very easily be propagated with cuttings to create new plants for your garden or to share with your friends.
Propagation can be done with different types of cuttings depending on the time of the year, but softwood (the new growth on the plant that is not woody yet) is generally the easiest to root.
This type of cutting can be taken from most woody plants between May and July.
Materials you will need:
• Sharp Pruners, Scissors, or a Knife
• Clean Container with Drain Holes
• Moistened Peat Moss
• Plastic Wrap or a Sandwich Bag
• Rooting Hormone (optional)
First, combine equal parts of moistened peat moss and perlite and fill your container with this mix.
It might help to keep the mix about ¼ inch from the rim of the container to make the watering easier.
Next, use sharp pruners or scissors to cut a long stem from the upper portion of the plant just below a node.
Nodes are where the leaf is attached to the stem, so a cut just a bit below a leaf is perfect (see picture on the right).
You may want to consider dipping your cutting tool in rubbing alcohol or a mixture of one part bleach and nine parts water before you cut.
This will help prevent transmitting diseases from infected plant parts to healthy ones.
You can take several cuttings from the same Butterfly Bush without harming the plant.
Try to find a side shoot that is about 4-6 inches long.
Try to find one without flower bud or remove the flowers or flower buds from cutting after the cut.
This will allow the cuttings to use their energy for root and shoot formation rather than fruit and seed production.
Once cut, also remove all leaves on the lower 1/3 - 1/2 of stem and insert the cutting in your prepared container with the peat moss/perlite mix deeply enough to support itself.
At least one node must be below the surface.
You could (optionally) dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone first before placing it into the container to encourage uniform root formation and help to strengthen the overall process.
If you choose to use rooting hormone, gently tab the end of the cutting to remove excess hormone before placing the cutting into your container.
Water well and keep the mix evenly moist (but not waterlogged) over the next few weeks.
To help keep the cutting from drying out, cover the plant with plastic wrap or a sandwich bag.
An extra tip for those of you who enjoy recycling and reusing resources: The plastic bags you use to buy produce at the grocery store work just as well.
Place the container in bright light without direct sunlight and mist the plant regularly. The cutting will root within about 3 to 6 weeks.
To test whether it has rooted yet, you can gently tug on the stem. If you feel some resistance, you will know that the cutting has rooted. Once you have an established root system, you can transplant the new plant to a bigger container or set it out into your garden.
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Master Gardeners are trained by the University of Tennessee and act as volunteers for the Rutherford County Extension Services.