How to Take Care of Plant Cuttings


Propagating plant cuttings offers the ability to grow free plants for the garden. The cuttings need light, water and warmth to stimulate root growth. As the cuttings grow the roots, new growth may appear. Once the plant cuttings establish a healthy root system, they are ready for individual containers until the plants reach the desired size.

Step 1

Keep the cuttings moist in a container of water until you can process them. A dry cutting is a dead cutting.

Step 2

Fill the growing tray with potting soil and dampen the soil with the spray bottle. Do not allow the soil to become soggy. Make evenly spaced holes in the soil for the cuttings with the pencil.

Step 3

Pour 2 to 3 tbsp. of rooting compound into a separate container. This keeps any contaminates from getting into the original bottle and possibly infecting any other cuttings in the future.

Step 4

Remove any leaves from the bottom of the plant cutting stems, exposing at least 3 inches of bare stem. Leave the top foliage on the plant cutting. The top leaves are necessary for photosynthesis to occur.

Step 5

Dip the plant cuttings into the rooting hormone and stick the stem at least 2 inches into the holes in the growing tray. Firmly tamp the soil around the cutting, leaving no air gaps that may spread bacteria and cause the plant cuttings to rot.

Step 6

Cover the growing tray with plastic and place in a warm location with bright light, but out of direct sunlight. Extreme heat can kill cuttings. Ventilate the growing tray each day by opening the plastic for about an hour. Reseal and keep watching for new growth. New growth indicates that a new root system has developed and the cuttings are ready for transplant into individual containers.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remove any plant cuttings showing signs of mold. Mold will spread quickly to the other cuttings, killing the entire tray.

Things You'll Need

  • Rooting hormone
  • Planting tray
  • Clear plastic
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Sterile soil medium
  • Heat mat (optional)


  • Plant Propagation
  • Plant Propagation by Stem Cutting
  • Rooting of Cuttings
Keywords: plant cuttings, cuttings, growing 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.