Propagation of Plants by Cuttings


Cuttings are the removal of a parent plant's stem and then rooting that stem to make an exact duplicate plant. Most all plants are able to propagate in this manner. It may take several attempts at cutting and rooting for success. According to North Carolina State University, using the softest or most supple portion of the parent plant will increase the success rate of rooting that particular cutting. The university also advises to take multiple cuttings from one plant. In this way, success is based on the survival rate of the cuttings.

Step 1

Mix peat moss and sand in equal parts for the rooting soil medium. The peat moss will aid in moisture retention, while the sand will aid in soil drainage and permeability of the new root system.

Step 2

Fill the 6-inch diameter pot to within 1 inch of the top rim with the rooting soil medium.

Step 3

Pour 1 quart of water into the pot. You may have to add a little water at a time so the soil will accept the full quart of water. Allow all excess water to drain from the pot through the lower drainage holes.

Step 4

Select the newest growth on the parent plant. In most all cases, the stem chosen for the cutting will be a vibrant green and supple. Cut the stem to 6 to 8 inches long.

Step 5

Remove the leaves from the lower 2 inches of the stem cutting.

Step 6

Dip the cut end into the white powder of the rooting hormone.

Step 7

Insert the pencil 2 inches deep into the rooting soil medium of the 6-inch pot.

Step 8

Slip the cut end of the stem cutting into the pencil hole. Press the moist soil around the cutting. You can place up to five stem cuttings, evenly spaced, in one 6-inch pot.

Step 9

Cut the lower end off the 2-liter soda bottle. Keep the upper screw cap in place. Set the soda bottle over the stem cuttings like a miniature greenhouse. The 2-liter bottle will fit snuggly inside the 6-inch diameter pot.

Step 10

Set the pot in a well-lit area, but out of direct sunlight, which will overheat the stem cuttings.

Step 11

Check the stem cuttings in two weeks. Pull the bottle off. Press your finger into the soil. If the soil is dry, add 1 cup of water only. Check for moisture every two weeks.

Step 12

Repot the new seedlings into individual containers after two to three months. The new seedlings should have at least 1 inch of root growth on the immersed stem.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • 6-inch pot (with lower drainage holes)
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pencil
  • 2-liter soda bottle


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
Keywords: stem cuttings, propagate plants, root cuttings

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.