Taking Rhododendron Shrub Cuttings


Rhododendron shrubs require adequate moisture and an acidic soil to grow energetically in a partially sunny growing area. When you provide the proper growing environment and conditions, a rhododendron shrub will thrive and bloom beautifully to add a lovely accent to your landscape. Propagate new rhododendrons by taking rhododendron cuttings during the autumn season. With proper care over the winter, you can have rhododendron plants ready to set outside the following spring.

Step 1

Fill the plastic bag with approximately 1/2 inch of cool water. You will place the cuttings inside the bag to keep them moist as you take the cuttings.

Step 2

Find the north side of the rhododendron plant and take your cuttings from this side. This will provide cuttings from the more shaded side of the rhododendron.

Step 3

Select a cutting stem from the bottom half of the rhododendron shrub. Cut a 3-inch stem from the rhododendron shrub with the utility knife, making the cut 1/2 inch below a leaf node. Select stems without any floral buds, if possible, because floral buds detour energy away from root formation during propagation.

Step 4

Place each cutting into the plastic bag to hold them while you cut additional stems.

Step 5

Remove all but three leaves on the stems to prepare them for rooting. If the leaves are large, cut half off to decrease transpiration (water absorbing into the cutting and then evaporating). Cut the bottom of the stem again at a 45-degree angle. Make a superficial cut approximately 1/2 inch above the bottom of the stem that extends halfway through the stem. This wound will aid in root formation. Dip the end of the stem in rooting hormone and then insert the cutting into moist potting medium. Keep the rooting environment moist around the cuttings and they may root within six to eight weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-gallon plastic food storage bag (zipper-type)
  • Sharp utility knife


  • Rhododendron Propagation by Cuttings
  • The American Rhododendron Society: Rhododendron Basics
Keywords: rhododendron shrubs, propagate new rhododendrons, taking rhododendron cuttings

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.