Nothing could be simpler - take a pair of scissors, cut some tips off a plant, place the cut tips into the potting mix and away they go, right? Wrong. OK, then take a pair of scissors, cut some tips off a plant, place the tips in a propagator and away they go, right? Sorry, wrong again. While the steps are correct, there is much more to consider to ensure success with cuttings. Expensive equipment is not the answer, doing your homework is. The Stock Plant (Mom) Plant cuttings are a part of the original stock plant and they share the same balance of light, air, water, and nutrients as the stock plant. If the stock plant was deficient in Phosphorous, for example, then the cutting will also be deficient in Phosphorous. This problem is compounded by the fact that the cutting no longer has legs (roots) and therefore cannot get access to food or drink. The plant which grows from a cutting will show any problem the mom had (i.e. nutritional deficiency) rapidly and throughout its development. Prepare the stock plant The stock plant needs to be growing actively but not forced to grow too fast as we want to force the cutting to form roots and minimise the risk of it having a vegetative growth surge. Ensure the stock plant is being fed on a regular basis but do not give it too many nutrients (especially Nitrogen), as this will cause an imbalance in carbohydrate storage, resulting in soft cuttings that have little energy for rooting. Overfeeding will reduce the number, size and quality of the root initials. If you are working only with terminal cuttings , they should be as tight as possible to avoid too much internode stretch. Cut back on the amount of Nitrogen being fed to the stock plant if internode stretch becomes obvious. You also want to avoid any other nutrient deficiencies - the plant should appear healthy with glossy green leaves and thick cuticles. Keep the light level up during growth periods, but reduce the amount of light the stock plants are exposed to by one third in the week before you take your cuttings. If you reduce the light level too much, you will induce internode stretch. Once you have taken the cuttings they may go into shock due to the loss of roots... transfer it into a reduced light environment. Make sure you water your stock plant the day before you take cuttings and it is best to take your cuttings during the first hours of light . It is also wise to make sure that the stock plant has been in a stable growth routine and has not dried out in the preceding two weeks. A stable, vigorous, healthy stock plant will yield cuttings of similar quality. Prepare To Take Cuttings: Now that we have ensured that the stock plant is as healthy as it can be, it must be time to get out the scissors ...No! Taking a cutting requires care! Choosing the correct tip to keep is important, but equally it is important to know where to cut, how to cut, what to use to cut, and how to care for the cutting afterwards. Why? Because you want to make good use of every possible cutting, and so minimize the number of stock plants and the amount of space required for keeping up production. It also will result in even rooting between cuttings. Where To Cut: The right location to take a cutting is a zone somewhere in the middle of the stem which is not too hard and not too soft. There is a zone on every plant stem that goes from low carbohydrates and high Nitrogen to high carbohydrates and low Nitrogen; you want the middle of this zone. How do you tell where this is? Most growers know this from experience, but new or less experienced growers might want to do the bend test. You bend a tip still on the plant at a point where you want to take the cutting back on itself... There are three things that could happen: it bends (high Nitrogen and low carbohydrate), it snaps in half or nearly in half (low Nitrogen and high carbohydrates), or it partially breaks in one spot (just right). This spot is the cut zone. This is the section of the stem where roots will most readily form. Next we need to know where on the stem to cut. How To Cut: Cut on an angle to encourage the stem to absorb as much water as possible and the wound to stay open to transfer the water. But when taking cuttings, take care to avoid crushing the tissue at the cut. Use a very sharp knife, razor, or bypass pruners. It is difficult to avoid crushing the tissue at the cut, but the impact can be reduced by selecting the correct cutting tool. The cut must be clean and crisp and it is best to cut with a specialist knife, called a propagation or budding/grafting knife. The next best option is bypass pruners. Scissors, anvil pruners, and fingers should be avoided as they crush the stem and dont produce a clean cut. Be Kind To Your Cuttings: All cuttings need to go directly to an environment with high humidity after being cut. If the cuttings dry out, they will not do well. Keep them dark, cool and moist. If you are working in large areas, use wet cheesecloth or burlap to wrap the cuttings as you go along. Dont give them time to dry out. Process them soon as possible to keep the auxins flowing down the stem since they need to work at the bottom. Rooting Medium: The media for rooting should be similar to the medium that will be used for growing the cuttings in later: use an inorganic medium for inorganic systems, and an organic medium for organic systems. You should match the properties. Plants develop new roots with characteristics suited to the particular medium and the subsequent job they must do. If you are growing in potting mixes or in a soilless mix, it makes little sense to induce roots on a cutting by using a water-based rooting system. Otherwise, the plant will have to devote time and energy to converting those roots to roots that will work in the new environment, where water is scarcer than minerals. If you intend to grow your cuttings in clay pebbles, then root them in water, rockwool, or floral blocks. This will insure root compatibility from the start. Finally, make sure you water the cuttings when youve finished. This ensures a seal develops on the stem and settles the cutting into place. Growing Conditions: Now whats the next step? Lets see, we fed the stock plant, took the cuttings, transferred the cuttings into suitable medium now we need get them under high humidity. This can be achieved with a dome or a mist system. Some plants are not particular and can withstand drier conditions while others will benefit fromthis approach. Humidity reduces the water use and supplies water to the growing plant. Humidity is essential to keep the leaf turgid, the systems functioning, and the processes processing. Keeping the lights at a lower intensity will enhance rooting while decreasing leaf function to survival levels. It will slow transpiration while the necessary components are used at the root sites to build a new root structure. Keep the atmosphere around the cutting warm (not hot), keep the humidity relatively high (>90%), and keep the root zone temperature warm (at about 25 C). Maintain this humidity until you can see callus tissue or root initials , then you can allow the cuttings to grow at below 90% humidity but above 80% humidity in order to encourage root growth. When you can see roots in the surrounding medium, it is time to reduce to 80% humidity and stop spraying water on the leaves in order to limit risk of disease. When the roots reach the outside of the root cube or pot, transplant them.