How to Use Misting to Propagate Trees


Many trees and shrubs are propagated through either softwood or hardwood cuttings. Hardwood cuttings are taken while the plant is dormant, whereas softwood cuttings are taken in the summer months and have fresh leaves and buds on the stem. Misting is often used to propagate softwood cuttings because water is lost through the leaves and roots haven't yet developed for taking up proper amounts of water. Misting increases humidity and moisture so roots can develop.

Step 1

Cut a 4- to 8-inch piece of stem from the tree you want to propagate with pruning scissors. Select a stem growth from the current season. Remove the leaves from the bottom end of the stem. Cut larger leaves in half on the upper portion of the stem. Use this cutting to propagate a new plant.

Step 2

Use your knife to scrape a 2-inch piece from the bottom of your cutting on each side. Dip the end into root hormone for 1 minute.

Step 3

Plant your cutting in a 4-inch pot so about half of the stem is buried in the soil, just below the first set of leaves.

Step 4

Hold your water spray bottle about 6 inches from your plant so water comes out in a fine mist. Moisten the soil with the water and then mist the leaves.

Step 5

Put sticks into each corner of the plant pot and place a plastic bag over your cutting. This will help to increase the humidity from the water misting around your plant. Place your cutting in an area with indirect sunlight and temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees F.

Step 6

Remove the bag each day and spray a fine mist of water over the soil to dampen it. Mist the leaves with the water to help decrease water loss. Replace the bag over the cutting. Check to see if roots have developed every two weeks by poking your finger in the soil near the base of your cutting. Once roots are formed, you can remove the plastic bag.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning scissors
  • Knife
  • Root hormone
  • 4-inch pot
  • Water spray bottle
  • 4 sticks
  • Plastic bag


  • University of Arkansas: Propagating Trees
  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous an Evergreen Trees
Keywords: growing tree cuttings, misting tree cuttings, growing with misting

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.