Multiply hemlock - 3 methods in comparison

If you want to multiply your hemlock, you have several options. Grafting is a method that is more suitable for professionals.

If you own a hemlock (bot. Tsuga), you may think about increasing the number of attractive conifers. Perhaps there is still a place for another branch or you have decided to create a hedge made of hemlock. If the demands of the plant with regard to location and soil are taken into account, this should not be a problem. You can read here how the hemlock can be propagated.

What types of propagation are possible?

  • Graft
  • cuttings
  • offshoot
  • seed

Grafting is a method that is preferably used in nurseries, is very complex and should therefore hardly be relevant for the hobby gardener.

❶ Multiply hemlock by cuttings

Cuttings should be propagated in August and September. This has the advantage that the shoots have already grown quite vigorously and have become more resistant than would be the case with a cut in spring. Woody branches are very poorly rooted, so the cutting should be cut from a year-old shoot. Choose a strong and healthy shoot.

Propagation of cuttings - step by step

  1. Cut the cutting
  2. Prepare the cutting
  3. Plant cuttings
  1. Place the cutting light and warm
  2. Wait for root formation

The cutting is separated from the main shoot using a sharp knife. In conifers, it is a proven method not to cut the cuttings straight, but to tear them. This does not result in a smooth cut edge, but the shoot has parts of the bark of the older shoot, the so-called heel and tongue. The cuttings are brought to a maximum length of ten centimeters.

Before the cuttings are placed in the soil, the needles and scales are removed from the lower part of the shoot. If the cutting is only in the ground, these parts of the plant could start to rot.

" Tip: Do not touch the wound on the cut edge with your hands. Pathogens could be transmitted.

Now the cuttings can be put in the ground. The planter is kept warm and moist and set up at room temperature. The cuttings can be covered with a plastic cover. The moist, warm microclimate favors root formation.

" Tip: Covers over seedlings should be aired regularly. Otherwise the substrate could start to mold.

It can now take a few weeks for the first roots to form and the successful propagation of cuttings to be recognized by the first fresh shoot tips.

❷ Hemlock fir multiply by offshoots

Propagation by offspring is preferred when it comes to low growing varieties. If the branches run close to the ground, it is not uncommon for offshoots to form automatically, which can be used and immediately replanted.

Propagation by offshoot - step by step

  1. Examine the plant
  2. Cut off the shoot
  1. Dig up offshoots
  2. Plant a new plant

If you want to multiply your hemlock, you should take a closer look at the crop in autumn. It is not uncommon for new roots to form on branches that reach the ground. The shoot has grown into the ground and a new plant has formed along the way.

In order to win the offshoot, the rooted shoot is first separated from the mother plant. Now the seedling that has already taken root can be dug up. It is important to work carefully so that the sensitive roots are not damaged. The seedling should then be brought to its new location and replanted as soon as possible.

❸ Hemlock spruce through seeds

Hemlock can also be propagated by seeds. This is of course useful if there is no plant and you want to win several young plants, be it to plant a hedge or to have a gift ready for other garden friends.

Propagation by seeds - step by step

If you are in possession of the seeds, there are a few things to consider. If you put the seeds in the ground immediately, nothing will happen.

Caution: Hemlock fires are cold germs. This means that germination must first be triggered by a cold stimulus. This is achieved if the seeds are placed in the refrigerator for four to six weeks. This breaks down the germ-inhibiting substances that the seeds carry.

" Tip: Low-growing specialty breeds can usually only be propagated vegetatively.

  1. Get seeds
  2. Stratify seeds
  3. Let the seeds swell
  1. Sow seeds
  2. Wait for germination

After stratification in the refrigerator, the seeds should soak in lukewarm water for a few hours, preferably overnight. Sowing takes place in standard commercial soil. Alternatively, coconut fiber soil can be used. The seeds are easily covered with soil.

" Tip: The seed size determines the seed depth. So a three millimeter seed comes three millimeters underground, etc.

It is important that you keep the substrate evenly moist. The soil must not dry out, but it must also not appear too wet, as this can cause the seeds to rot. Germination can also be accelerated here by a cover made of film or glass.

The germination rate can be estimated as very low. Therefore, use a larger number of seeds. Patience is required, it will take years until a small tree develops from a seed.

" Tip: Hemlock fir seeds remain germinable for several years.

Overview of propagation methods - advantages and disadvantages

propagation methodadvantagesdisadvantage
cuttingsCuttings can easily be obtained from existing plants. The method has a relatively high chance of success.There must already be a plant that is well developed and freshly growing. Only root the cuttings of annual shoots.
offshootOffshoots only need to be dug from the ground. The new plant was created almost by itself.Offshoots only form on low-growing species, the branches of which reach down to the ground.
seedSeveral plants can be grown without much effort. Even those who do not yet have their own plants can easily propagate.The seeds have a low germination rate. Since it is a cold germ, stratification of the seeds is necessary. The method is very lengthy.

What happens to the young plants?

The young plants are particularly sensitive. The root network is still very delicate and must not be injured. After germination or rooting, the plants are transferred to an independent planter. Young hemlock trees need a lot of moisture and should be grown warm but not in full sun. You can meet the high nutrient requirements of the plants with a regular supply of organic fertilizers, preferably coniferous fertilizers. Do not use saline fertilizers. This is not tolerated by the plants.