How to Propagate by Cuttings


Propagation of a plant is a way of cloning a parent plant. A new plant is made without the need for sexual reproduction, ensuring the characteristics of the donor plant are maintained. The simplest way to propagate with a plant cutting is by cutting a stem or leaf from the parent plant and placing it into soil to encourage the development of new roots. Ohio State University says both woody and herbaceous plants are possible to clone in this manner, and can be done with minimal expertise.

Step 1

Cut a 4- to 6-inch long cutting of a healthy shoot from a parent plant just below a node, where a leaf is growing, using a sharp knife, recommends the University of Missouri Extension. Make the cut at a 45-degree angle to ensure it is clean.

Step 2

Remove all leaves from the lower portion of the cutting and dip the cut area into a rooting hormone to seal the wound and promote the growth of new roots. Rooting hormone is available at many gardening centers and with online retailers.

Step 3

Fill a tray or pot with perlite. Make a hole in the perlite with a pencil and place the cutting in. Gently tap down the cutting and fill the hole with extra perlite to secure the cutting in place. Water the pot so that the soil is moist but not dripping.

Step 4

Place a plastic bag around the cutting and place in an area with indirect sunlight, where the temperature will not drop below 55 to 60 degrees says the University of Vermont Extension, and not above 65 to 75 degrees.

Step 5

Water the cutting again in two weeks so that the soil does not dry out. Transplant the cutting after 21 days, or when it has developed several strong roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Perlite
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plant tray
  • Water
  • Plastic bag


  • Ohio State University Extension: Plant Propagation
  • University of Missouri Extension: Home Propagation of Houseplants
  • University of Vermont Extension: Rooting Cuttings
Keywords: propagate plant cuttings, propagating cutting, rooting cuttings

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.