Step 1: Make a Trench
Make a V-shaped trench, 8 in (20 cm) deep, adding horticultural sand if drainage is poor. Remove a long stem, then cut it into lengths of about 9 in (23 cm), pruning the bottom below a bud and the top just above another bud, with a sloping cut to distinguish it. Remove any leaves and sideshoots.
Step 2: Backfill with Soil
Insert the cuttings upright 4–6 in (10–15 cm) apart along the trench, with enough buds above the surface to form a few shoots. Backfill around them with soil and gently firm, then label and water well. Root less hardy plants, such as perovskia, hibiscus, and cistus, in pots in an unheated greenhouse until spring. Trim cuttings to 3–4 in (8–10 cm), insert with the top bud just above the surface, and keep moist. Plant out next fall.
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Tender plants and half-hardy annuals and perennials are started indoors, since they need artificial warmth or frost-free conditions. The seeds of most hardy plants can be sown indoors, too, if you want closer control of their germination and early growth.