How to Plant Clippings


Growing plants from clippings provides you with free new plants to grow in other locations. This is known as propagation and works well with a number of plants. These clippings or cuttings form new roots and eventually grow into full-size plants. Provide the right environment for growing plant cuttings to ensure success. Take stem cuttings from herbaceous plants during the growing season and get softwood clippings from new growth just before the stem hardens. Cut semi-hardwood clippings after the wood hardens and get hardwood cuttings from stems of the previous season when the plant is dormant.

Step 1

Gather plant clippings early in the day before it gets hot. Get cuttings 4 to 6 inches long from healthy stems.

Step 2

Cut off any leaves growing on the bottom half of the clipping. Cut any large leafs in half that are still on the cutting.

Step 3

Fill containers with drainage holes with moistened top-quality potting soil. North Carolina University suggests using a mixture of 1 part perlite and 1 part peat, or 1 part sand and 1 part peat (by volume).

Step 4

Make holes in the soil with a pencil to plant the clippings 1/3 to 1/2 of the overall length. Space the holes far enough apart to allow sunlight to reach each clipping.

Step 5

Pour rooting hormone on a paper towel or paper plate. Dip each of the new stem cuttings into the hormone, then shake off excess.

Step 6

Place the plant clipping into a hole. Gently firm the soil around the planted clipping to hold it in place.

Step 7

Insert three or more straws around the rim of the container. Cover the planted clippings with a plastic bag. The straws keep the bag off the growing cuttings.

Step 8

Place the container in a well-lit area, but out of direct sunlight. Keep the soil and growing environment moist and humid by misting the plant clippings as needed.

Step 9

Check the clippings for rooting by giving them a gentle pull after two or three weeks. Roots are forming when you feel resistance.

Step 10

Allow the growing clippings to develop further as you gradually decrease the humidity by opening the bag a little more every day.

Step 11

Transplant your cuttings into a small pot, so they will grow bigger before planting directly into the landscape. This increases the chances of success when transplanting into permanent locations.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Paper towel
  • Container
  • Good quality potting soil
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pencil or stick
  • Straws or sticks
  • Plastic bag
  • Spray bottle
  • Water


  • Purdue University: New Plants From Cuttings
  • North Carolina University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings

Who Can Help

  • Washington State University: Propagating with Stem Cuttings
  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
Keywords: propagation, growing plant cuttings, stem cuttings, grow plant clippings

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.