Taking periwinkle cuttings

Periwinkle flowers look lovely, and require no deadheading!

Spring is coming, so it’s nigh time to take some cuttings! I like to prune and take cuttings at the same time, to maximize productivity. I simply put the better branches into a container or plastic bag with some water in it (to keep them from drying out). So that’s how you kill two birds with the same stone. Now onto the real subject at hand.

Periwinkle is easy to propagate, and will grow readily from cuttings. What you need to do is snip off some (preferably) non-flowering branches, with at least 6-8 nodes on them for easy propagation. You can go for smaller or flowering branches, but with them chances of failure will be higher, and you’ll also need rooting hormone. In this article, I’ll cover the method without the use of rooting hormone – especially since that’s how I’ve had the most success.

So, you take a longish branch, and cut the bottom end at a diagonal, to expose a large amount of stem. Use a knife for this. Now peel off all the leaves except the top two, make a hole in the soil deep enough so around 1-2 inches of the cutting stick out, and pop the stem in. Press the soil down around it, and water lightly.

Now, a lot of people say you should cover the cutting with some plastic to maintain a high level of humidity, but that’s never worked for me. I live in an area with high humidity (65-85% year-round), and if I cover my periwinkle cuttings, they rot away. If you live in a drier place you may need to cover them, and mist the plastic every few days, but otherwise skip it. One other alternative is to try both, on separate cuttings. That way you’ll be propagating and experimenting at the same time.

Place the cutting in a bright but shaded place, and mist every day or two, depending on how dry the soil and air are. Take a picture of the cutting at this point, so you can tell when new growth occurs. Once that happens, you can fertilise the cuttings very lightly. I put in a few drops of weak organic fertilizer every week or two.

Normally, if the cuttings survive, you should see new growth and roots in a month. After that, I like to wait another month before either repotting the cutting, or slowly weathering it – which might include exposing it to direct sunlight, or outside air. After yet another month, when the cutting has put out four or more pairs of leaves, pinch off the top, to make the plant branch out early on.



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