Salvias are a large group of plants popular for adding colour to borders in late summer. The perennial types vary in hardiness so a good way to safeguard against winter losses is to root cuttings. This is simple to do and it is satisfying to share these long-flowering plants with friends.
When to take cuttings
Take cuttings in August or September. The growth may still be soft or just beginning to harden (semi-ripe).
How to take cuttings
Taking salvia cuttings is relatively easy and straight forward, just follow these simple steps:
1. With a sharp knife or secateurs, cut several stems from non-flowering shoots in late summer and place in a plastic bag. Collect material in the morning when it is at its most hydrated.
2. Use a knife to prepare the final cuttings. Trim each cutting just below a leaf and carefully cut or pinch off the leaves from the lower half. Only use material from the shoot tips. Each cutting should be around 5-8cm (2-3in) in length.
3. Dip the base into a rooting hormone compound (ideally based on naphthylacetic acid) and insert into a 15cm (6in) pot of gritty, cuttings compost five to eight cuttings per pot. Water in and place in a propagator or cover with a clear, plastic bag. Keep at room temperature until rooted and overwinter in a frost-free place.
There are very few problems associated with taking salvia cuttings, but blackleg can occur if water, pots, compost or tools are unsterilised.