I took some cuttings from my rosemary bush and penstemon and potted them 7th October 2008. I'd been meaning to do it earlier in the year but hadn't got round to it. Best time to do rosemary is in August but I thought I'd give it a go and thankfully they are doing well. Penstemon seem ok whenever but correct me if I'm wrong.
For the cuttings I prepared some three inch pots filled 1cm. shy of the top with cuttings compost ( I didn't have any so mixed bit of sharp sand with multipurpose compost). Armed with a plastic sandwich bag and secateurs I set out to the the rosemary bush and penstemon plant in my garden. I looked for new growth on the plants -i.e. still flexible and green rather than brown and rigid and from the rosemary took cuttings about 8-10 cms long and from the penstemon 10-12 cms long. Pop them in the bag to keep them fresh.
Then I prepared the rosemary cuttings first using sharp secateurs to trim to under a leaf node(basically cut them to just under a pair of leaves). Then pull off the leaves of the bottom 1cm of the cuttings. You can use them in your dinner if you like. Then stick in five cuttings round the edge of one of the pots. You are meant to use a dibber to make a hole for them but I usually forget and just shove them in. I watered them so moist but not waterlogged. Then I get a label write the plant and date on it - actually managed to do that this time and that's how I could tell you when I took the cuttings. Then I turned the pot into a homemade propagator by getting a plastic bag and putting the pot in it, blowing into bag and tying it up like a balloon. Some of them I just put the bag over the top and the label stopped it flopping and tucked the ends under the pot - they did fine too. Keep them somewhere light and frost free.
It's the same principle for the penstemmon but the cuttings are a bit longer. Again trim to a leaf node but this time strip off bottom 2 cms of leaves and carry on as above.
Cuttings are great as they are cheap and are also the only way of propagating bred cultivars. Plants that have been crossed to get a particular plant may not be grown from the seed of that plant as I think they can end up reverting back to the characteristics of just one of the parents.
When the cutting have grown some new leaves (2 months?) you can take off the plastic bags. Then keep compost moist. I'm not sure when they get to a decent size but will keep you updated on the progress of mine.
Anyway have a good weekend. Enjoy the sun! I'll be back on Monday.