How to Propagate Plant Cuttings


Propagating plant cuttings offers a relaxing way to build your collection of plants with little investment or effort. Through the use of rooting hormones, stem cuttings taken from healthy plants root and grow into an exact duplicate of the mother plant. In just a short time, another healthy plant awaits transplanting to the flower bed or planter.

Step 1

Select healthy plants from which to take cuttings. Clip the cuttings at least 6 inches in length. One leaf node must be on the stem cutting. Where the leaf connects to the stem is called the leaf node. Strip all but the top two leaves off the cuttings so the bottom of the stem is bare. Cut large top leaves down to only about 2 inches to keep cuttings from touching each other in the growing tray.

Step 2

Wet the potting soil with warm water until it is moist. Moist soil in a sealed container retains its moisture and allows the cuttings to develop roots. If the soil is too wet, the plant cuttings will rot. Fill the growing tray with the soil and create holes for the plant cuttings to grow.

Step 3

Pour 2 tbsp. of rooting compound from the original container into a small dish or plastic bag. This keeps the original container free from any contaminants carried by the plant cuttings. Dip the plant cuttings into the dish of rooting hormone and shake off the excess. Plant the cuttings in the holes of the soil in the growing tray. Tamp down the soil to remove air pockets that may contain bacteria detrimental to plant cuttings.

Step 4

Cover the growing tray with clear plastic and seal with a rubber band around the rim of the container. Use tape to hold the plastic in place, if necessary. You want to create a mini-greenhouse and retain the moisture of the soil inside the growing tray. Use pencils or skewers buried in the soil, to keep the plastic off the cuttings.

Step 5

Place the tray in a warm location free from direct sunlight. Direct light kills cuttings with the heat. Monitor the plant cuttings to keep the soil moist and remove any dead cuttings or those infected with mold. Rotate the tray for uniform light while the plant cuttings set root.

Step 6

Watch for new growth, which signifies root development. Remove the plastic and give the plant cuttings a slight tug. If you feel resistance, the cuttings have formed roots. Allow the cuttings to grow for another week and transplant into separate containers. Acclimate the new plants to their permanent home and enjoy their beauty.

Things You'll Need

  • Quality potting soil
  • Rooting hormone (available from garden centers)
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Pencils or wooden skewers
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Rubber band or tape
  • Pruning shears or scissors
  • Small dish or plastic bag


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  • Rooting Hormones: Taking of Plant Cuttings
  • Healthy Recipes: Types of Plant Cuttings
Keywords: plant cuttings, propagating cuttings, growing 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.