Quick View of Propagating by Cuttings

Propagation from Cuttings

Important To Remember

  • Strike the cuttings top end up. An easy way to remember top from bottom is by cutting the bottom end with an angle and the top with a straight cut.
  • Use a clean sharp knife to make cuttings.
  • Retain humidity for them with plastic cover or anything that gives a “greenhouse effect”.
  • When using sand, be sure it is coarse builders sand.
  • Keep growing medium moist, not soggy; perlite or vermiculite added to mix helps retain moisture and aeration.

Softwood /Greenwood Cuttings

These are the soft new growth from growing tips or basal cuttings. In spring when new growth starts take pieces of plant three to four inches in length.

Tip cuttings are taken below a node and cut at an angle. Remove lower leaves and pot up in starting medium, up to two nodes of the stem. Cover to preserve transpiration.

Keep moist until roots grow and new growth appears. Plant out. Providing some initial protection may be helpful.

Root in Water

Basal Stem Cuttings

In spring take cuttings from base of parent plants. I like to use this method with many shrubs and subshrubs.

Remove lower leaves and plant in good growing medium. Some use rooting hormone, but I never have. It could improve the strike rate of plants.

Most often this type of method is used for named varieties of such perennials as Lupines, Delphiniums, and Chrysanthemums.

Semi Ripe Cuttings

While plant is actively growing, pliable stem cuttings are made, called “semi-ripe”.

Between four and eight inches of plant material is cut below a node. Remove lower leaves and tip, slice off sliver of bark at base, dip into rooting hormone, and plant into medium.

Hardwood Cuttings

Very late in the fall, cuttings taken from the seasons fully ripened growth are cut into six inch pieces below a node.

Remove all leaves from 2/3 of the lower plant; slice off sliver of bark at bottom, dip in rooting hormone and plant into a trench in a protected part of the garden or in pots with enriched humusy soil. Allow only top two inches of stem above soil line. Mulch for winter.


Hardwood cuttings