How to Propagate a Dogwood Bush


Dogwood is one of the most popular ornamental trees, and with good reason. Because dogwood are relatively small, they contrast beautifully with taller trees like pines or oaks. Dogwoods bloom early in the springtime, brightening up the landscape with masses of pink or white blooms. Although several steps are involved, the easiest way to start a new dogwood is by taking a stem cutting.

Step 1

Cut a piece of stem from a healthy dogwood tree during the summer. The stem should be 4 to 8 inches in length, and should have leaves attached.

Step 2

Fill a 4-inch planting container with potting soil and mist the soil with a spray bottle until it's damp but not dripping. Use a sharp knife to make a 1-inch vertical slice in the cut end of the stem. Dip the cut end of the stem cutting in rooting hormone, and remove the lower leaves so that no leaves will be under the soil.

Step 3

Poke a hole in the soil with a pencil, and plant the cutting carefully in the hole so the rooting hormone isn't brushed off in the process.

Step 4

Put the planting container in a clear plastic bag. Put a few stakes in the container so the plastic doesn't come in contact with the leaves, and close the plastic.

Step 5

Set the planting container in a warm place, but be sure it's in indirect sunlight. Full sunlight will be too hot.

Step 6

Keep the soil moist. Although the plastic bag will preserve humidity, if the soil gets dry, remove the plastic and mist the soil, then replace the plastic. If you see beads of water forming in the plastic, the moisture level is too high. Remove the plastic for a few minutes, and poke a few holes in the plastic before you replace it.

Step 7

Check occasionally to see if the cutting has taken root. This can be determined by tugging gently on the stem, and if you feel resistance, the cutting has rooted. You can also look at the bottom of the pot to see if tiny, white roots are beginning to emerge. This can take 2 to 3 months, but putting the container on a heat mat can speed the process, and increase the chances of success.

Step 8

Fill a 4-inch planting container with potting soil and move the dogwood cutting into the larger pot. Put the container back into a plastic bag, but leave the top of the bag open. Mist the soil regularly, and don't allow it to dry out. Leave it in a warm, sunny spot until you're ready to plant the dogwood outside.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-inch planting container
  • Potting soil
  • Spray bottle
  • Rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Stakes
  • Heat mat (optional)
  • 4-inch planting container


  • Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees, and Vines With Stem Cuttings
  • Cornus florida
Keywords: dogwood tree, stem cutting, rooting hormone

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.