It’s essential to learn the four steps on how to propagate vinca from cuttings because not all varieties of periwinkles will be best if you root them from seeds. For example, the evergreen ground covers, Vinca major or common periwinkle, and Vinca minor or little leaf periwinkle are suitable for propagation by cuttings. However, there is nothing to worry about because rooting from cuttings is simple, even for newbie UK gardeners.
Vinca or periwinkle will spread best in an ideal environment. Therefore, using a greenhouse for starting these plants will ensure that the cuttings will root and survive. Additionally, the parent plant that will provide the softwood cuttings should be healthy and stress-free, so those that you’ve raised in the polytunnel make the best candidate.
How To Propagate Vinca From Cuttings: Comprehensive Guide
Newbie or not, you can simplify the propagation of vinca from cuttings into four steps. Cutting or collecting, preparing growing medium, planting, and transplanting should get you the vinca clones of your parent plant. As mentioned earlier, you can propagate your vinca cuttings in the polytunnel or cultivate the parent plants themselves indoors to ensure that the plants will be vigorous and stress-free.
Before you collect the cuttings from your periwinkle plants, you must know the difference between the horizontal and upright stems. The former are non-flowering, and they have the leaf nodes that will form roots. Therefore, the erect stems with flowers are not what you need for propagation.
Choose an actively growing parent plant that is healthy and showing no signs of stress. You can collect vinca cuttings in spring or early summer, but do note to avoid doing so when it’s scorching. Experienced gardeners in the United Kingdom also recommend cutting from May to July or when the softwood has sprouted.
Additionally, choose the secondary cuttings at the lower end of the stem instead of the terminal cuttings at the tip because they root quicker. The branch should have various leaves but no flowers and use a sanitised and sharp shears to get a 4-inch cutting. Remove all leaves from the bottom one-third, so it’s bare for rooting.
Preparation of growing medium
The growing medium for your cuttings is crucial for them to root, and a combination of coarse perlite and sphagnum peat moss would be ideal. And similar to growing cuttings of other plants, ensure that this medium is moist to support roots. Once you’ve prepared the medium, you can plant anytime if you’re in zones 10 to 11.
Before you plant the cuttings, remember that there should be no leaves at the lower half of the stem. For the leaves at the tip, only half of them should remain. Once the cutting is ready, dip the severed end in rooting hormone to encourage rooting.
Remember that sanitation is essential, so use a separate container to dipping the rooting hormone’s cuttings. You can then insert one cutting per pot so that the leaves’ lowest remaining set is above the ground. Don’t also forget to firm the medium around the stem to keep it stable.
The ideal location for the cuttings is indoors, and choose the polytunnel area that gets bright light. However, the plants shouldn’t get hit by direct sunlight. To further promote rooting, cover them with clear plastic bags and check the medium’s moisture every day.
Mist your cuttings twice a day with particular attention to the underside of their leaves. In two to four weeks, lightly tug the stem’s base to check for resistance to indicate roots. Once they have rooted, open the plastic bags to help with air circulation.
Four weeks after the cuttings have rooted, you can transfer them to a larger container with potting soil. You can harden them before transplanting by putting them in a sheltered area with partial shade. Once they are ready, the plants will grow best five feet apart in a bed with full sun for the following growing season.
How To Grow Vinca
Growing vinca will be successful as long as you meet the plant’s optimal requirements. You will also have a higher chance of getting more robust parent plants for your cuttings if they are in the greenhouse. If you plan on only using the polytunnel for starting vinca, do so 12 weeks before the last frost.
Periwinkles will grow well in full sun, and they are even drought-tolerant. They are not picky with soil, and the spacing for them can be 12 inches apart. Water them well but once established, you can lessen the frequency unless there is drought, and you can maintain soil moisture by mulching.
You can fertilise twice per season for feeding, and you can stimulate growth in midsummer using liquid food. You can then feel confident against diseases and pests because vinca is not vulnerable to them compared to other flowering plants.
You can root periwinkles either from seeds or cuttings, depending on what you’re growing in your UK garden. But for evergreen ground covers, it’s essential to know how to propagate vinca from cuttings. It will take you four steps: cutting or collection, preparing growing medium, planting, and transplanting to get your periwinkle clones.
It’s worth noting that using a polytunnel for the parent plants or starting the propagation will provide more benefits for you. The consistent and ideal conditions indoors will create vigorous parent plants that you can confidently get your cuttings from. On the other hand, starting the cuttings indoors will help them root quickly and ready for transplanting.