How to Use Cuttings


Stem cuttings produce an exact copy of the original plant. Being able to reproduce plants and shrubs in this manner also saves money, especially with the cost of landscaping plants rising. According to the University of Nebraska, gardeners can use cuttings to replace dying or diseased plants or to generate more plants for the landscape.

Step 1

Take cuttings from the healthiest part of the plant if it is dying or diseased. Use the pruning shears or a sharp knife to remove stem sections from the plant. Each section must have at least two leaf nodes on the stem.

Step 2

Remove all but the top two or three leaves from the stem cuttings. Trim large leaves so the cuttings do not touch each other in the growing tray. Put the cuttings in water so they do not dry out before planting.

Step 3

Wet the potting soil with warm water and squeeze out the excess moisture so the soil is the consistency of a wet sponge. Fill the growing tray with the damp soil and create even holes for the stem cuttings.

Step 4

Pour 2 tbsp. of rooting compound into a baggie. Dip the stem cuttings into the rooting compound and shake off the excess. Stick the cuttings into the soil and tamp down around the stems. Cover with plastic wrap to create a mini-greenhouse.

Step 5

Set the growing tray in a sunny, warm location, or on the heat mat, but out of direct sunlight. Information from Ohio State University states to duplicate the growing requirements of the parent plant for the cuttings to root and grow properly.

Step 6

Mist the plant cuttings when the soil becomes dry. After four to six weeks, the cuttings will develop a root system. Remove the plastic and continue growing until the roots are well established. Transplant the new plants as desired and continue to grow them until weather permits transplanting outside or another container is necessary.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use the diseased or dead part of a plant to make stem cuttings. Allow the soil to dry between misting so there is less chance of rotting plant cuttings.

Things You'll Need

  • Rooting hormone (available at most garden centers)
  • Pruning shears or sharp knife
  • Growing trays (lids optional)
  • Clear plastic wrap (if lids not available)
  • Quality potting soil
  • Heat mat (optional)
  • Spray bottle of water


  • University of Nebraska: Use Cuttings to Start New Plants
  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation; Cuttings
Keywords: plant cuttings, use plant cuttings, use cuttings, plant propagation

About this Author

Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently, Richards has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.