Basal cuttings are one of the most popular ways to propagate plants. They’re easy to do, they produce new plantlets very quickly, and it’s relatively inexpensive compared with other methods of propagating your favorite plants.
What Is A Basal Cut?
A basal stem or base is a leafless branch that grows from a parent plant (usually another plant) without any support at all. These branches usually grow straight up and down, but sometimes they twist around like a cork. Some roots may develop along the branch, but these are not considered part of the stem.
How To Take A Basal Cutting?
You can take basal leaves directly from a plant or you can get them from another plant through grafting. Grafting involves taking two different plants and attaching one to each other using long, thin pieces of tissue called “grafts.” You then use the graft to form a new plantlet. Grafting is usually done in spring or summer, because it takes time for the tissues to fuse together properly.
When Should I Take A Basal Leaf?
If you want to start a new plant immediately after collecting it from its mother plant, you’ll need to take basal leaves. These leaves usually grow straight up or down from the stem, with no branches. This is the only type of leaf suitable for taking a basal cutting.
You’ll need to take your cutting in mid-summer when the main plant has grown enough to provide a large enough base. The cut should be made just above an outward facing bud and at least one node (leaf scars) should be visible below the cut. This should be done in the spring or early summer before new growth starts.
How To Do It?
1. Cut the leaf off at a 45 degree angle just above an outward-facing bud and node (leaf scar).
2. Be sure to remove all of the leaves except for the top one.
This is important because it provides energy for the cutting to “root.”
3. Place the cutting in a shallow bowl of water to which a pinch of plant food has been added.
4. Place the cutting in indirect sunlight and make sure it stays moist.
What Should I Expect?
The cutting should start to “root” in three or four weeks, but it could take longer. Once the cutting has rooted, it can be planted in potting soil and then placed in the sunniest window in your home. Keep the soil moist.
If the cutting begins to turn yellow or brown and die back, it needs more light. If it turns a dark green, it needs more water. Stop fertilizing the cutting once it has rooted.
Over-fertilizing can actually kill the cutting.
It’s important that the cutting is kept away from temperatures that are either too hot or too cold, because this could cause the cutting to die.
About Basal Cuttings
Once the cutting has rooted, it can be planted in the ground or in a larger pot. The stem of the new plant will grow very rapidly and produce new leaves. From then on, you only need to water it when the soil feels dry.
In most cases, these new plants will bloom within one year and the original parent plant will have enough energy to bloom again the following year.
Sources & references used in this article:
Quantitative relations of carbohydrates to nitrogen in determining growth responses in tomato cuttings by ME Reid – Botanical Gazette, 1924 – journals.uchicago.edu
Propagation of six plum rootstocks by basal heating of hardwood cuttings. by G Tehrani, DR Logan – Propagation of six plum rootstocks by basal …, 1969 – cabdirect.org
Sacral nerve stimulation induces pan‐colonic propagating pressure waves and increases defecation frequency in patients with slow‐transit constipation by PG Dinning, SE Fuentealba, ML Kennedy… – Colorectal …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library
Effect of growth regulators in the propagation of sarkaraikolli (Gymnema sylvestre), medicinal coleus (Coleus forskohlii) and thippili (Piper longum). by K Sundharaiya, V Ponnuswami, AJ Jasmine – South Indian …, 2000 – cabdirect.org
Vegetative propagation of Terminalia bellirica Roxb. and Terminalia chebula Retz. by stem cuttings. by SD Bhardwaj, AK Chakraborty, NK Joshi – Indian Forester, 1993 – cabdirect.org
In what situations isin vitro culture appropriate to plant conservations? by MF Fay – Biodiversity & Conservation, 1994 – Springer
Vegetative propagation of chir pine (Pinus roxburghii Sargent) through stem cuttings and basal sprouts. by GS Shamet – Indian Journal of Forestry, 2000 – cabdirect.org