How to Make a Bare Root From Cuttings


Making bare root seedlings from cuttings is a common method of plant propagation. A bare root is, as the name implies, a root devoid of soil or any other solid growth media. Cuttings from mature plants are taken from young, new growth or growth that is from the previous season. The time of year cuttings are taken will vary depending on the type of plant. Early spring, as plants come out of dormancy and begin to grow again, is the most common. Bare root seedlings need to be taken from healthy, disease-free and pest-free plants.

Step 1

Use hand pruners to take cuttings from a plant. Choose a stem that is 12 to 18 inches long and cut at a 45-degree angle. Make sure to cut just below the first leaf node.

Step 2

Pinch off any stems or leaves along the bottom 6 inches of the cutting. This area will develop roots.

Step 3

Dip each cutting in rooting hormone, shake off excess hormone. Place the cutting into a large bucket filled with water. Roots will develop in two to four weeks, depending on the plant type used.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not place bare root cuttings directly into a garden bed. Place them in a container and allow them to mature and fully develop a root system before placing into a permanent location.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruner
  • Rooting hormone
  • Large bucket


  • North Carolina State University Center for Environmental Services
Keywords: bare root, propagation, stem cutting

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.