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Dianthus plants can get leggy but at this time of year you can create new plants from your old ones using two different propagation techniques. The first is by taking cuttings, known as ‘slips’, which are clusters of new growth pulled away from the main plant. They come away with a strip of old stem, which is thought to help the formation of new roots. Remove any flower buds so the cutting can concentrate on root and leaf growth. They don’t need much more preparation other than to remove some of the lower leaves and pinch out the growing tip. It’s not essential, but if you have it, dust the bottom in hormone rooting powder before firming each one into a pot of gritty compost.
Water and cover with a plastic bag to keep in moisture and, in a few weeks, you’ll have a rooted plant. Alternatively, you can layer the stems, by following the step-by-step instructions below.
This traditional method works well with very leggy, sprawling plants. Clean any dead leaves off the stem you’re going to use. After it’s layered, rooting will take about two weeks, after which the new young plant can be severed from its parent and potted up.
1. Choose a long, pliable stem that’s bare at the base but has healthy new growth at the tip.
2. Wound the stem by carefully scraping away part of the bark with a sharp knife.
3. Using wire, pin the wounded stem to the ground, to which gritty compost has been added.
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