Getting Plant Cuttings to Root


Getting plant cuttings to root provides you with a cost effective way to add more foliage to the landscape while saving money. Through the use of a rooting hormone and proper stem cuttings, it is possible to duplicate almost any plant growing in your gardens by following a few steps.

Step 1

Choose healthy, disease-free plants from which to take cuttings. Make clean cuts from the stems of the plant after the new growth has hardened off. Plant cuttings at least 6 inches in length make a good size for rooting.

Step 2

Wet the potting soil with warm water until it is damp but not saturated. Soggy soil causes plant cuttings to rot. Fill the growing tray or pot with the soil. Create uniform holes in the soil for the plant cuttings.

Step 3

Place 2 tbsp. of rooting hormone into a plastic baggie or disposable tray. Remove the bottom leaves from the cuttings, exposing at least 3 inches of the stem. Dip the plant cuttings into the rooting hormone and shake off the excess.

Step 4

Place the dipped plant cuttings into the holes of the soil in the growing tray. Tamp down the soil with your hands to remove any air pockets.

Step 5

Cover the growing tray with clear plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Secure the plastic wrap or bag to create a miniature greenhouse for the plant cuttings to root.

Step 6

Place the tray with the plant cuttings in a sunny location but out of direct sunlight. Monitor the cuttings daily to remove any dead or dying cuttings. Be careful not to overlook mold which may start to grow at the base of the cuttings.

Step 7

Check the plant cuttings in two weeks for root growth. Give the cuttings a gentle tug to feel for resistance, which signifies a growing root system. Remove the plastic and allow the cuttings to continue to grow for another week. Transplant into individual pots and allow the new plants to grow to the desired size before transplanting into the landscape.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not try to root new green growth as there is too much water content still in the stems and the cuttings will only rot in the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Quality potting soil
  • Rooting hormone (found in most garden centers)
  • Growing tray or pot
  • Clear plastic wrap or plastic bag
  • Plastic baggie or disposable tray


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  • Rooting Hormones: Rooting of Plant Cuttings
  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees, and Vines with Stem Cuttings
Keywords: root plant cuttings, root cuttings, rooting cuttings

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.