Stem Cutting

Definition - What does Stem Cutting mean?

In horticulture, stem cutting refers to a process used during vegetative propagation whereby a piece of the plant’s stem is rooted into a growth medium such as moist soil. Consequently, the stem cutting will thrive and grow as a new plant, which is entirely independent of the mother plant provided that the conditions are suitable.

Stem cuttings produce fresh roots, and once this happens, the stem cuttings are no longer cuttings, but new, young plants. Because their genetics are the exact same as the parent plant in which they are taken, plants grown from stem cuttings are also called clones. The entire process is called cloning.

MaximumYield explains Stem Cutting

Stem cuttings should be cut from a healthy parent plant at a 45-degree angle with a pair of sterilized, sharp clippers. Look for a branch or sub-branch that is strong and healthy with no discoloration, toxicities or deficiencies. The stem should have a few leaves, but not too many. Ideally you want one or two nodes at the top of the stem cutting. A good length for stem cutting is about five inches or so.

Once taken from a parent plant, stem cuttings require a moist medium. Various media can be used during this step and these include clay pellets, rock wool, coir, vermiculite, perlite and soil. Succulent cuttings, on the other hand, can be left to air out until the cut is completely dry. According to botanists, this can actually enhance root formation in the new plant.

According to botanists, planting stem cuttings works best in areas prone to high humidity. Because stem cuttings are not adhered to any root system, they will eventually rot and wither and die from lack of hydration if they’re not rooted under the proper conditions.

In addition to stem cuttings, there are also leaf cuttings and root cuttings. However, stem cuttings are by far the most popular method of propagating new plants using the cloning (i. e. cutting propagation) method.

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