How to Plant the Stem of a Tree to Clone a Reproduction


Creating a clone, or a reproduction, of a plant is known as propagation. Propagation of trees by stem cuttings can be done with hardwood, softwood or semi-ripe cuttings. The type of cutting to take is determined by the type of tree you are attempting to propagate. Hardwood cuttings are taken from dormant plants with wood that is mature and hard to bend. Softwood cuttings, taken from new growth just as it is beginning to harden, will snap when they are bent. Semi-ripe cuttings are those that are from the current season's growth and have fully formed, mature leaves. Not all trees can be propagated by cuttings. Those that can, however, are generally easy to clone.

Step 1

Take a six-inch cutting of the appropriate type from the tree you wish to clone. Cut it from the tree at a 45 degree angle.

Step 2

Mist the cutting and place it in a plastic bag until you are ready to plant it.

Step 3

Fill a planting pot three-fourths of the way full with sand. Water the planting medium until the water flows from the bottom of the pot. Allow the pot to drain completely. Using your finger or a pencil, poke a planting hole in the soil.

Step 4

Remove the cutting from the plastic bag and remove all leaves except for two or three at the top.

Step 5

Dip the cut end of the stem into the rooting hormone and then stick it into the hole in the soil. Make sure that at least two leaf nodes (where the leaves attached to the stem) are buried. You can safely bury up to two-thirds of the stem under the soil. The stem will produce roots from the nodes, so the more of them that are buried, the better.

Step 6

Place pencils or sticks around the perimeter of the pot, if the stem has leaves. Cover the pot with plastic or place it in a plastic bag, then adjust the plastic over the plant so that the sticks hold it away from the leaves.

Step 7

Place the pot in a well-lit area, out of direct sunlight.

Step 8

Check the soil periodically to make sure that it remains moist. Mist it with the misting bottle if it begins to dry out.

Step 9

Remove the plastic when the cutting sprouts new growth.

Step 10

Transplant the new cutting into a larger pot filled with potting soil. Water it until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot, and place it in an area with light, but not direct sunlight. Fertilize it with a half-strength solution of an all-purpose fertilizer. The cutting should be allowed to remain in the new pot until it is well established, up to one year.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Plastic bag
  • Rooting hormone
  • 2 planting pots, 4-inch and 1 gallon
  • Sand
  • Pencils or sticks
  • Fertilizer
  • Potting mix


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  • "California Master Gardener Handbook;" Dennis R. Pittenger; 2002
Keywords: clone a new plant, clone a tree, propagation of trees with cuttings

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.