How to Plant Hibiscus Cuttings


Most hibiscus varieties can be propagated by stem cuttings. Either softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings can be used. New shoots that are tender but mature enough to break easily can be taken in the early and mid-summer. In late summer or fall, obtain a cutting of firm wood with mature leaves after a growth spurt. Keep the cuttings moist, and plant them as soon as possible. The key to success is maintaining moisture and humidity while the cutting is taking root.

Step 1

Cut a 4-to-6-inch long shoot in the early morning. Use clean pruning shears or a sharp knife. Wrap the shoot in wet paper towels, and keep it cool until planting.

Step 2

Fill a small cup or tray with moist sand.

Step 3

Remove the leaves from the lower half of the shoot. Dip the cutting into a small container of rooting hormone prepared according to the package directions.

Step 4

Poke a hole in the sand with a pencil or small twig. Place the stripped end of the shoot into the hole and firm the sand around it. The shoot should be buried approximately 2 inches deep.

Step 5

Water gently, and cover the cuttings loosely with a clear plastic bag. Place the cuttings in indirect light.

Step 6

Monitor the moisture and humidity, watering and misting to keep the sand moist and the environment humid. Allow four to six weeks for roots to develop.

Step 7

Check for adequate rooting by tugging on the stem. Hibiscus trees that are sufficiently rooted will resist the tug and hold tight to the sand.

Step 8

Transplant the rooted tree to a container and grow indoors in a sunny location until the following spring.

Step 9

Harden the new hibiscus tree before planting in the landscape by placing it outdoors for a few hours. Gradually increase the time outside until the plant is ready to be outside all day, then transplant it into the landscape.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or sharp knife
  • Small cup or tray
  • Sand
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pencil or small twig
  • Paper towel
  • Plastic bag
  • Small container
  • Potting soil


  • University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Propagating Houseplants
  • North Dakota State Extension: Propagation of Hibiscus
  • Washington State University Extension: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs
Keywords: plant hibiscus cuttings, propagate hibiscus cuttings, root hibiscus cuttings

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.