How to propagate mahonia

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The mahonia is a shrub that produces vertical spikes covered in green leaves. In the spring and summer, the plant is covered in small, yellow flowers that produce a pleasant fragrance. In the autumn, the yellow flowers drop off and are replaced with dark blue and purple berries, which resemble grapes but are not edible. Mahonia shrubs can be propagated in a variety of ways, including planting a cutting until it develops roots.

Locate an existing mahonia plant during the summer and identify a limb that is at least 30 cm (12 inches) long. Choose a limb with the largest diameter possible, as they will usually produce roots quicker.

Cut a 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 inch) section off the limb using pruning shears. Make the cut straight across the stem.

Pull off all but the top two to three leaves from the mahonia cutting using your fingers. You should also pull off any yellow flowers that are growing on the cutting.

Fill a plant pot three-quarters full of sand and moisten the sand with water until it is saturated. Make sure that the pot you choose has holes in the bottom to allow for water drainage.

Dip the cut end of the cutting into water to moisten it. Dip the moist end into rooting hormone until the cut end is covered up to 2.5 cm (1 inch).

Dig a 5 cm (2 inch) deep hole in the centre of the pot using your finger. Insert the cut end of the mahonia cutting into the hole and press the sand in around the hole to fill it in.

Place the cutting in an area where it will receive indirect sunlight and has a consistent temperature between 16 to 21 degrees C (60F to 70F). Turn a clear plastic storage container upside down and place it on top of the pot to hold in the moisture.

Check the soil in the pot daily and add additional water if it starts to dry out.

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