How to Make Plant Cuttings


The best way to propagate perennials is to make plant cuttings. Hard wood, soft wood, and leaf cuttings all will produce healthy plants for the garden. When you make cuttings, choose plants that show no signs of disease or pest infestation. Healthy cuttings produce healthy plants.

Step 1

Determine the type of plant cutting you want to make by selecting the proper technique for the season. Hard wood cuttings generally do better during the fall, while leaf and soft wood cuttings grow better in the early part of the growing season.

Step 2

Cut 6 to 8 inches off the end of the branch, making sure there is at least one leaf node close to the bottom of the cutting. Make plant cuttings early in the day.

Step 3

Snip the cuttings at an angle so when you plant them in the growing tray, you will know which end is the top and which is the bottom. This is important when making hard wood cuttings.

Step 4

Remove the bottom pair of leaves, exposing the leaf node. This node is what must be dipped in the rooting compound before planting. The node is where the new plant will form its roots.

Step 5

Dip the cuttings into the rooting compound. Liquid compounds are convenient because you can adjust the strength according to the cutting. Leaf and soft wood cuttings do not need as high a concentration of rooting compound as hard wood cuttings.

Step 6

Fill the growing tray with sterile soil, then place the cuttings in pre-formed holes in the soil. Mist the cuttings every 24 hours with water from a spray bottle until the cuttings show signs of new growth. This can take up to three weeks for soft wood cuttings; leaf cuttings don't take as long, but hard wood cuttings take longer. The new plants are strong enough to be planted in the flower bed when the new growth has two or more leaves.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not place plant cuttings directly in the sunlight. They are already in shock, and the harsh heat of the sun will cause them to wilt quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Rooting compound
  • Growing tray
  • Sterile growing medium
  • Spray bottle


  • Rooting Cuttings
  • Plant Propagation
  • New Plants from Cuttings
Keywords: plant cuttings, hard wood cuttings, soft wood cuttings, rooting plant cuttings

About this Author

JulieAnn is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently JulieAnn has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. JulieAnn is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her Bachelor's degree in English.