How to propagate Choisya ternata 'Sundance' from cuttings

Choisya ternata 'Sundance' is arguably one of the most popular of all ornamental, evergreen shrubs. Compact in habit, with attractive fragrant blooms and an eye-catching, glossy, bright foliage, what is there not to like?

Choisya ternata cutting
As Choisya ternata 'Sundance' is a selected cultivar it is extremely unlikely ever to grow true from seed. As will all species, cultivars and hybrids from within this genus, they are all propagated vegetatively from cuttings.

To ensure success as best as you can, cuttings of Choisya ternata 'Sundance' are best taken in August. Before you commence, prepare the parent plant by adequately watering it the day before. This will ensure that the plant is fully hydrated and therefore the cutting material will be as turgid as possible. During the summer, cuttings are best taken in the morning, preferably on a cloudy day. This will reduce the risk of the cutting material from drying out which will have a detrimental effect on your cuttings viability.

Using a sharp sterilized blade, take 8-10 cm long cuttings of half-ripened lateral shoots. Remove the lower 1/3 foliage. The remaining leaves may need to be cut in half to reduce water loss caused by transpiration which may cause the cutting to dry out before it can produce new roots. If you are not striking your cuttings immediately, place the cutting material in a cool, damp, sealable polythene bag and keep away from direct sunlight.

How to take cuttings from Choisya ternata 'Sundance'
Using a large modular seed tray, fill with a good quality, well-drained, low nutrient compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. alternatively make your own mix using equal parts by volume fine-blended moss peat and horticultural sand. Strike one cutting per module, rooting hormone powder is not necessary. However if you choose to use rooting hormone powder then use a dibber first before striking the cutting to prevent the powder from being wiped off.

Gently water the tray, then place inside a heated propagator at a temperature of 16-18 degrees Celsius. Once the cuttings have rooted, gently remove the module disturbing the rootball as little as possible. Pot the cuttings on nto 7-9 cm pots containing John Innes 'No.2' and overwinter outside in a coldframe. Once the threat of late frost has passed in the following spring they can be potted on into the next size pot and then harden off. Pinch out the growing tips to promote side shoots and plunge into a nursery bed. They will be ready for planting out into their final position the following year.

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