How to Grow Roots From a Plant Clipping


Grow roots from a plant clipping (stem cutting) to propagate many different garden and house plants. The cuttings root to produce an exact copy of the original plant. Propagation from stem cuttings helps replace old or dying plants. Cuttings taken from the healthy part of a diseased plant make it possible to replace the plant if the disease takes over and kills the plant.

Step 1

Saturate the soil of the plant with water the day before taking the clippings to help maintain the water content in the stem cuttings. Decrease water loss by taking the cuttings in the morning after watering and before the plant loses water from the heat of the day.

Step 2

Make clean cuts to keep damage of the host plant to a minimum. Clip stem cuttings 6 to 8 inches long with at least one leaf node at the bottom of the cutting. Remove all but the top leaf or leaves from the stem. Put the plant clippings into water until planting.

Step 3

Moisten the potting soil with warm water. Fill the growing tray with the moistened soil. Make several holes in the soil with your finger for the plant clippings.

Step 4

Pour 2 to 3 tbsp. of rooting hormone into a plastic sandwich bag. Dip the plant cuttings into the bag to coat the bottom 3 inches of the stem. Shake off any excess hormone powder and stick the cuttings into the pre-formed holes. Tamp the soil around the cuttings to secure them into the soil.

Step 5

Cover the growing tray with clear plastic wrap and secure the wrap around the bottom of the tray. Place the tray in a bright location out of direct sunlight and in temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees F. Place a heat mat under the growing tray, if necessary, to maintain the warm temperature.

Step 6

Uncover the tray for one to two hours each day to keep the plant cuttings from developing mold. Reseal the plastic each day to maintain the humidity level of the growing tray.

Step 7

Check the plant clippings for root development after two weeks. Give the cuttings a gentle tug to feel for any slight resistance, which signifies root growth. Remove the plastic once roots start growing.

Step 8

Remove the young plants by digging them up with a spoon or other instrument. Never pull the plants out of the growing medium by the stems, as this may damage the tender plants. Transplant the new plants into separate growing pots until they are ready to go into their permanent home.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic sandwich bag
  • Quality potting soil
  • Growing tray
  • Clear plastic wrap or plastic bag
  • Heating mat (optional)
  • Spoon


  • University of Vermont: Rooting Cuttings
  • Purdue University: New Plants from Cuttings
  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Keywords: root plant clippings, root plant cuttings, propagate stem 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.