How to Take Fall Plant Cuttings


It's fun to realize that you can do the work of a botanist and propagate new plants from cuttings.Taking cuttings of plants you already own is a fairly simple and cost-saving way to have more plants and to get a head-start on spring. Moreover, you will know that your new plant will be identical to the old plant. You can easily take cuttings from flowering plants such as geraniums or fushias or from shrubs such as redtwig dogwood or huckleberry.

Step 1

Cut small stems from the ends of side branches, approximately 5 inches long. Avoid tender shoots from the middle of the plant or shoots that have any abnormal growth.

Step 2

Remove the lower third of leaves from the stems in order to reduce the amount of water the new shoot requires. Remove enough leaves so that the lower leaves do not touch the rooting mixture to lessen the change of rotting.

Step 3

Dip the stem into the rooting hormone according to the instructions given on the product.

Step 4

Place the stems in the rooting mixture being careful not to knock off the rooting hormone and water.

Step 5

Place the cuttings in a spot that gets plenty of light, but not direct hot sun, and away from drafts. You can root cuttings indoors or outdoors in a coldframe or greenhouse.

Step 6

Lift the rooted cuttings very carefully and plant directly in soil once roots have formed and all danger of frost has passed in your region

Tips and Warnings

  • Taking cuttings from hardwood plants, such as forsythia, grapes and most trees is a more difficult process and takes up to a year for the cuttings to root. Prevent root rot by making sure that your rooting mixture is well aerated and that you do not over water.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp clippers
  • Rooting mixture
  • Clay pot or nursery flat
  • Rooting hormone


  • "Sunset Western Garden Book"; editors of Sunset Magazine and Sunset Books; 1977
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Growing Perennials
Keywords: taking plant cuttings, propagating plants, fall plant cuttings

About this Author

A freelance writer with an extensive career in education, Susan Lundman taught writing and communication at the Military Academy at West Point, at military bases overseas and at community colleges in the United States. Working in a non-profit agency for 20 years, she wrote grant requests, promotional material, and operating guides. Lundman's expertise includes backpacking, dance, gardening and healthy living.