How to Propagate From Cuttings


One of the ways of propagating plants is through the use of cuttings. Basically, you are creating a clone of the plant from which the cutting was taken. All of the new plant's characteristics will be the same as the mother plant, and there will be no surprises. There are several methods of taking cuttings, depending on the plant. There are three basic types of cuttings: leaf, stem and root.

Step 1

Leaf, tip or slip cuttings are usually done on plants that never form woody stems. Plants such as African violets or sedum will propagate pretty easily if a leaf is cut with a portion of stem included. Other soft-stemmed perennials will actually root from just a section of leaf, such as a geranium. Dip the cut in rooting hormone powder and then set it into a prepared plant pot. Consistent watering for about 3 to 6 weeks in a warm and humid environment will usually produce roots and new growth.

Step 2

Stem cuttings are a popular form of multiplying plants in the horticultural business. You can take 3- to 6-inch cuttings from either the current year's growth or established growth. Within this category, there are several ways of cutting the plant to get the best results. Basically, after the cut is made, the lower leaves are removed and the stem is dipped in the rooting hormone powder. Specific plants might have special requirements for this process, but generally, the method requires setting the powdered stem into a prepared potting soil and then keeping it moist and warm for 3 to 6 weeks under good lighting until new roots form.

Step 3

Root cuttings are a little different from stem cuttings in that 3- to 4-inch sections of the root are cut away and planted horizontally (or vertically for thick roots) under the soil. Thin roots may be cut shorter and planted a little closer to the surface, but both types are left in the dark and done only when the plant is in a dormant stage. No rooting hormone is necessary for this type of propagation. Within 2 to 3 weeks of being in a warm and moist environment, the rooted cuttings should show signs of growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Plants
  • Pruning sheers
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pot
  • Potting mix
  • Water


  • Ohio State University: Types of Cuttings Used for Asexual Propagation
  • VirginiaTech Cooperative Extension: Propagation by Cuttings, Layering and Division
Keywords: plant cuttings, asexual propogation, planting

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.