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Name: Jennie Callow
Question: How and when do I take cuttings from Daphne plants please?
Answer: Hi Jennie, Daphne cuttings are best taken as semi-ripe cuttings in mid-to-late summer. Prepare your pots first, choosing small 9cm pots or similar. Fill them loosely with a mixture of 50% compost and 50% perlite for good drainage. You can gently firm the compost once with your finger tips but its best not to compact it too much. Semi-ripe cuttings should be taken from the current season’s growth and should have a fairly hard base and a soft top. It’s best to take a heel cutting, where you simply select a healthy young shoot and pull it away from the main stem, leaving a ‘heel’ (a piece of the main stem) attached. Remove the leaves on the lower third of the shoot and cut any remaining big leaves in half to reduce water loss. Dip the heel of the cutting into hormone rooting powder to encourage rooting and protect from rotting. Insert the cuttings around the edge of the pots, spacing them so the leaves aren’t touching. Water well and allow the pots to drain before placing inside a clear plastic bag. Keep the pots somewhere warm and bright but out of direct sunlight if possible. Make sure the compost remains moist. After 6-8 weeks you should start to see roots appearing out of the drainage holes, at which point your Daphne cuttings can be potted on. I hope this helps Jennie, good luck.
Name: Helen Ashby
Question: Any tips for filling raised beds? Is normal top soil ok, or should I mix with compost? Thanks in advance.
Answer: Hi Helen, if your raised beds are permanent it’s a good idea to fill them with top-soil in addition to organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. Top-soil will give the growing medium some structure, improving drainage and encouraging good root growth. Organic matter alone (such as compost) breaks down over a number of years to leave a dense growing medium with little nutritional value and poor drainage. We have some hints and tips on creating raised beds and how to obtain topsoil in our 'How to Grow Plants in Raised Beds’ article, which you may find useful. I hope this helps.