One of the many reasons home gardeners root and grow plant clippings is to generate more plants for the landscape while keeping costs to a minimum. Rooting plant clippings also allows you to replace diseased or dying plants with an exact clone grown from the clippings. Stem cuttings root easily in a humid environment with the aid of a rooting hormone available in most garden centers.
Make several stem cuttings 6 to 8 inches long and as thick as a pencil, if possible, from a healthy section of the stock plant. Include at least one leaf node as close to the bottom of the cutting as possible. Strip the bottom of the cutting leaving 3 to 4 inches of the stem bare. Place the plant clippings in water until planting.
Moisten potting soil with warm water and mix to incorporate the water into all of the soil. According to Texas A&M University, although the surface of the soil may appear wet, the interior could remain dry unless you mix the water into the soil. Be careful not to over saturate the potting soil but keep it the consistency of a damp sponge.
Pour 1 to 2 tbsp. of rooting hormone onto a paper plate or in a plastic baggie. Dip the plant clippings into the rooting hormone and coat the bottom 3 inches of the stem cutting. Shake off the excess powder. Dispose of the used hormone powder in the trash. Do not return it to the original container to avoid contamination.
Fill the growing tray with the moistened potting soil and form several deep holes with your finger for planting the stem cuttings. Place the plant clippings into the holes and firmly tamp down the soil around the cuttings. Make certain at least one leaf node is below the soil surface.
Cover the growing tray with clear plastic to form a humid environment around the plant clippings. Pierce the plastic in several places so air circulates around the cuttings to avoid mold developing in the growing tray. Place the cuttings in a warm area with bright light. Avoid direct sunlight to keep the plant clippings from scorching. Use a grow light, if necessary. During cold periods, place the growing tray on a heat mat to maintain a temperature of 75 degrees for optimum rooting temperatures.
Remove any dead plant clippings or any showing signs of mold immediately. Maintain the humid environment for six to eight weeks. After this time, check for root formation by gently pulling on the cuttings. Resistance to the pull means roots are developing. Remove the plastic and continue growing until the plant clippings have a healthy root system.
Transplant the newly formed plants into separate containers. Harden off the new plants by slowly exposing the plants to their permanent location over the next week or two. Transplant the plants into the garden when weather permits. Water daily until the new plants have established themselves.