How to Grow Fruit Trees From Stems

Overview

The success of growing fruit trees from stem cuttings varies by plant type. Citrus trees are quite easy to propagate with softwood cuttings, while plum, peach and cherry trees can be grown from softwood or semi-hardwood stems. Hardwood cuttings provide the best results for pears, pomegranates, figs and grapes. Regardless of what type of cutting you have, the basic method of propagation is the same.

Step 1

Line the bowl with a damp paper towel. Cut a section of the stem or the stem tip that has at least two sets of leaves. Cuttings should be 6 to 10 inches long. Keep the cuttings in the bowl and shaded until ready to plant.

Step 2

Make a potting medium of one part soilless mix and one part perlite. Add a little water to moisten the mix and fill the planting container.

Step 3

Cut off all of the leaves at the leaf node except the uppermost set. Peel the bark away from the bottom 1 inch of the cutting.

Step 4

Dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone making sure all of the exposed wood is covered. Allow it to sit in the hormone powder for two or three minutes. Tap off the excess and insert it into the planting container. Cut the remaining top leaves in half with the scissors. Wash your hands after using the rooting compound or wear a pair of rubber gloves.

Step 5

Place two small wooden stakes in opposite corners of the planting pot and put it in a plastic bag. The stakes will keep the top of the bag off the cutting. Seal the bag to maintain humidity and place it in a warm, brightly lit area out of direct sunlight. Open the bag every few days and add just enough water to keep the soil mix moist.

Step 6

Check the planting container after for signs of root hairs growing out of the bottom. This may take four weeks or more. Continue adding water until roots have developed. Once roots have developed, remove the cutting from the bag and transplant it to a larger container.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Knife
  • Large bowl
  • Paper towel
  • Small planting container
  • Soilless potting mix
  • Perlite
  • Rooting hormone
  • Scissors

References

  • University of Florida Extension: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide -- Introduction
  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Trees Vines and Shrubs
  • University of California: The California Backyard Orchard: Propagation
  • Fine Gardening: Propagate Your Shrubs from Softwood Cuttings
Keywords: fruit tree cuttings, grow fruit stems, propagating fruit trees

About this Author

Based in Surrey, British Columbia, Stephen Oakley is a freelance writer focusing on environmental issues, travel and all things outdoors. His background includes many years spent working in the Canadian wilderness and traveling worldwide.