How Do You Grow a Plant Without a Seed?


Many plants in the world grow beautiful flowers, fruits, nuts or vegetables which form seeds that can be collected and planted to create new plants. Some plants, however, don't produce seeds, or the seeds they produce have poor germination rates. For these plants, you'll need to know how to grow a plant without a seed. Typically, this can be done by taking cuttings and encouraging the bottom of a stem to form roots while the top of the stem becomes the main body of the new plant.

Step 1

Take a cutting from the plant you want to grow by collecting a pencil-thick stem with four to five buds or leaf sets on it. Trim along the bottom end of your cutting to clip it just before a bud or leaf set. Cut the top of the cutting just after a bud or leaf set.

Step 2

Remove the leaves growing along the bottom two-thirds of the cutting by trimming them back to their base with the hand pruners. Clip the remaining leaves in half width-wise to shorten them without cutting them off.

Step 3

Fill a 4-inch pot with potting soil and wet the soil enough to make it feel like a wrung-out sponge without leaving the soil soggy. Push up to four evenly spaced cuttings down into the soil far enough that the soil level rests along the third bud or leaf set area.

Step 4

Cover over the cuttings and pots lightly with a clear plastic bag. Use rubber bands if needed to hold the bag in place, but don't let the bag put pressure on the cuttings. Leave the bag in place, removing only for watering when necessary, and set the pot in a sunny window away from direct sunlight for three to four weeks.

Step 5

Check the cuttings daily to look for any black fungus growing along the soil level where the cuttings are planted. If you see fungus or disease beginning, remove the infected cuttings and discard. As long as the existing leaves don't begin to wilt, even when you see no new growth, you should assume your cuttings are growing roots.

Step 6

Remove the plastic bag once you see new growth begin on the ends of the cuttings. Place the pots in the same sunny window and gradually introduce the plants to more hours of direct sunlight each day until you can safely leave them in full sun without the leaves appearing bleached or scalded. Water the pots anytime the soil feels dry.

Step 7

Transplant your cuttings to individual pots or to a prepared bed outdoors after a month of growing uncovered. Keep your new cuttings well-watered as they transition and recover from being transplanted.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • 4-inch pot
  • Potting soil
  • Water
  • Clear gallon-size plastic bag
  • Rubber band


  • "Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening"; Carroll C. Calkins; 1993
  • "New Complete Guide to Landscaping"; Better Homes and Gardens; 2002
Keywords: starting new plants, taking plant cuttings, propagating plants

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.