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How to Propagate Salvia From Softwood Cuttings

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

Salvia farinacea 'Fairy Queen'

Salvia farinacea 'Fairy Queen'

How to Cut and Multiply Sage Plants

Salvias, or sage, are beautiful late-flowering plants that make a great addition to any mixed border. Many are, however, tender, so it's a good idea to take cuttings as an insurance policy.

Salvia involucrata 'Boutin'

Salvia involucrata 'Boutin'

How to Take and Propagate Sage Cuttings

Cuttings are best taken in August or September. Here's how you do it.

  1. Collect your cutting material first thing in the morning. This is important as your plants will be best hydrated in the morning, giving you the best chance of success.
  2. Select a healthy stem, which is not flowering. Flowering stems are much less likely to strike than non-flowering ones. (If you have a particularly floriferous plant, this might be tricky!)
  3. Pop your cuttings in a plastic bag as you go around the garden; this will further help to trap the moisture in the stems.
  4. Bring your semi-ripe cuttings immediately back to your work area and prepare them.
  5. Aim for cuttings to be between two to three inches. From the tip of the stem, travel down on your cutting until you have reached about three inches. With a clean, sharp secateurs, snip just below the nearest of leaves. You may discard the portion of the stem below your cut. Remove the lower leaves from your cuttings, leaving a maximum of two each.
  6. Fill a 4-inch pot with a gritty potting mix. My mix has 40% to 50% horticultural sand in it, but you can use grit or perlite instead of horticultural sand.
  7. Dip each cutting in a rooting hormone mix and plunge it in your potting mix. Be careful not to damage the soft stems. A 4-inch pot can typically fit 5 to 8 cuttings.
  8. Water your cuttings once and cover them with a plastic bag. This will help trap moisture in.
  9. Keep your cuttings at room temperature, around 68˚F (20˚C), until they strike.
  10. Overwinter your cuttings frost free.
Salvia patens

Salvia patens

Happy Growing!

Next summer, you can expect lots of colorful salvias to brighten up your flower beds. Happy growing.

Taking Sage Cuttings in Autumn

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Rachel Darlington