How long cuttings take to root depends upon the type of plant.
Those of pot plants, such as plectranthus, tradescantia and fuchsia, can take hold within two weeks. Shrubby euonymus, osmanthus and the like may take a month or two, depending on the temperature of a growing medium.
If cuttings are still standing fresh and tall a week after planting, there’s hope. A new shoot signals that the basal cut is healing and roots will follow.
But resist inspecting cuttings prematurely because that will disrupt progress.
As September arrives the young stems are becoming woody in preparation for winter, and three months of taking hardwood cuttings lies ahead.
Remove the soft tip of the summer growth and cut a stem 20cm to 30cm long. Force a spade, full blade depth, into the soil and push the cuttings upright into the slit trench, leaving 5cm protruding. Make the cutting firm with heel and toe.
Most of the hardy ornamental shrubs – weigela, forsythia, buddleja, escallonia, etc – can be propagated in this simple way.
So if the price of a shrub or bush fruit appears off-putting, just think long-term of the offspring it can generate.
In autumn, when the top growth of herbaceous perennials fades, indicating the onset of dormancy, it’s time for instant propagation.
The whole plant, be it an achillea or zantedeschia, can be dug up and divided into sections, each representing a new beginning.
This process can continue throughout winter, right up to the point of spring, offering sufficient time to consider your options.
Even then, the first shoots of spring are potentially stem cutting material so offer an extension to propagation opportunities.