Cuttings from a plant can be used to clone, or propagate, the plant. Some cuttings will root in water, while others need a stable planting medium, such as sand and perlite, to take root. Grow the cuttings in a controlled environment with sufficient humidity for the best success. Plant cuttings may be the tip of a stem, section of a stem, or a leaf.
A cut is made less than 2 inches from the tip of the stem to collect plant cuttings. Begonias, which can live in full sun or shade, can be propagated through stem tip cuttings. With the botanical name, Begonia semperflorens, begonias produce blooms in colors red and pink to yellow and off-white from summer into fall and can reach a height of about 12 inches.
Also suitable for stem tip cuttings are the annual plants coleus and geranium. Coleus, Coleus x hybridus, has variegated leaves of burgundy to deep red that may also have creamy yellow highlights. Coleus can grow up to 20 inches tall. Geranium, Pelargonium, grows in full sun and displays blooms of white, red, pink or salmon from summer into fall. Though some varieties of geranium can reach more than 2 feet tall, 12 inches tall is common height.
A section of a plant’s stem about 6 inches long, which may also include the tip, is a stem section. The evergreen shrub called Japanese camellia, or Camellia japonica, can be propagated with a stem section. Camellia blooms in late winter and if conditions are right, may bloom again the fall. Camellia produces large blooms of white, red or pink that stand out against the dense and dark green leaves of the shrub.
Both English and American holly can be propagated with stem cuttings. American holly, Ilex opaca, is classified as a small tree or large shrub and may have a conical shape. Its red berries are enjoyed by many animals including doves, goldfinches, cardinals, squirrels, deer and chipmunks. English holly, Ilex aquifolium, can reach a height of 50 feet. This evergreen tree is recognized for its variegated leaves that are trimmed in creamy white. Magnolia, genus Magnoliacae, can reach a height of 80 feet and can be propagated from stem. Its large, rubberlike leaves provide a deep green background for large, often fragrant blooms in white, yellow and pink, which are displayed in the spring and may continue to bloom occasionally throughout the summer.
The base of a fleshy leaf can be snipped to use as a cutting to propagate plants such as African violet. African violet, Saintpaulia species, is generally grown as a houseplant that produces small blooms in low-light conditions. Begonia rex and sedum can also be propagated through leaf cuttings. Begonia rex, is valued for its spectacular leaves, which may be white with green borders or have pale green leaves with mauve colored veins and mauve blotches. Sedum, Sedum spp., is capable of reaching a height of 12 inches. Sedum is a perennial that produces blooms in colors from yellow to mauve.