How to Plant Grow Roots to Start Another Plant


Plants are propagated through root cuttings, stem cuttings, layering, seeds, or division. A root cutting or stem cutting produces an exact copy of the stock plant. Through the use of a rooting hormone, you can easily grow roots to start another plant to add more foliage to the landscape without a great deal of expense.

Grow Roots from Stem Cuttings

Step 1

Clip 6- to 8-inch sections of soft wood from a healthy stock plant in the early spring, using pruning shears or a sharp knife. Remove the bottom leaves to expose the lower 3 to 4 inches of the stem. Place the plant cuttings in water until you are ready to plant.

Step 2

Fill a growing tray with moistened potting soil and form several deep holes for the stem cuttings. The soil should feel like a damp sponge.

Step 3

Pour 2 to 3 tbsp. of rooting hormone in a disposable container and dip the plant cuttings into the hormone to coat the bottom of the stems. Shake off any excess powder and plant the cuttings into the holes formed in the soil. Tamp the soil into place.

Step 4

Cover the growing tray with clear plastic or a plastic bag. Place the tray in a warm area that receives bright light but is out of the way of direct sunlight.

Step 5

Tug gently on the cuttings after four to six weeks to feel for resistance. Slight resistance means the roots are growing. Remove the plastic and continue growing the new plants until the root system is fully developed. Transplant into individual growing pots and grow out the plants to the desired size before planting into the permanent location.

Grow Roots from Root Cuttings

Step 1

Take root cuttings from dormant plants during late fall or early winter. Make a straight cut close to the crown of the plant and an angled cut 3 to 4 inches lower at the base of the root ball, using pruning shears or a sharp knife.

Step 2

Bundle the cuttings together with the straight cuts facing the same direction. Fill a plastic bag with moist peat moss and place the cuttings into the bag. Cover with more moistened peat moss and seal the bag. Store in a cool place for three to four weeks.

Step 3

Remove the cuttings from storage and plant directly into a prepared garden bed with the tops of the root cuttings 2 to 3 inches below the surface of the soil. Dig up the roots with a shovel when new shoots form.

Step 4

Transplant the new plants into their permanent location and care for the plant as you would the stock plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plant cuttings exposed to direct sunlight bake instead of root.

Things You'll Need

  • Rooting hormone
  • Pruning shears or sharp knife
  • Growing tray
  • Disposable container
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Clear plastic wrap or plastic bag
  • Growing pot
  • Shovel


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings
  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
  • University of Vermont: Rooting Cuttings
  • University of Arizona: Plant Propagation
Keywords: stem cuttings, rooting cuttings, plant propagation, propagate root 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.