In order to plant a flowering tree with no roots, you will first need to get it to root. This is known as propagation and, depending upon the type of tree, it can be an easy process. In fact, it is the preferred propagation technique for many flowering trees. Whether you are planting a dogwood, cherry or magnolia tree, with a little patience and care, you can have a beautiful flowering tree growing in your garden.
Take a cutting, 5 to 8 inches long, from the tree. It should be from the current year's growth.
Fill a planting pot to within 3/4 inch of the rim with equal parts of sand and vermiculite. Water the planting medium well and allow the pot to drain completely. Using your finger, or a pencil, poke a planting hole in the top of the soil. It should be deep enough so that, when planted, at least two nodes (area on the stem where leaves were attached) are buried beneath the soil.
Remove the leaves from the bottom one-third of your cutting.
Pour a small amount (1/2 teaspoon or less) of rooting hormone into a shallow dish. Dip the cut end of the cutting into the rooting hormone. Discard the leftover hormone. If you pour it back into the container you risk contaminating the entire contents, so it's best to just throw it away.
Stick the cutting into the prepared hole in the soil and pack the soil around it. Place the cutting in a plastic bag and secure the bag.
Place the bagged cutting in an area that receives lots of light, but out of direct sunlight.
Mist the cutting daily with the plant misting bottle. Check the soil to make sure it remains moist. If it appears to be drying, use the misting bottle to moisten it.
Remove the bag from the cutting when you see new growth. This means that the cutting has formed roots and is becoming established. Horticulturists at North Carolina State University suggest that newly rooted cuttings should be allowed to grow larger prior to placing them in the garden. If needed, transplant the cutting into the next largest size pot and allow it six months of new growth prior to placing it in the landscape.
Dig a hole in the permanent planting location that is twice the diameter and the same depth of the pot in which the flowering tree is growing. Remove the tree from its pot and place the roots in the hole. Backfill the hole with soil and use your hands or feet to tamp the soil around the base of the tree.
Water the tree until the water puddles. Keep the soil moist until the tree becomes well-established. This will generally take three months, but depends upon environmental conditions. You will know it is established when it begins to grow and put out new leaves.
Pour a 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the flowering tree, but keep it at least 2 inches from the tree's bark.