How to Start Cuttings From Flowering Plants


Growing a new plant from the cuttings of another preserves the genetic qualities of the parent plant. In effect, you grow a clone. Though genetic diversity protects plants from, say, diseases that could wipe out many cloned plants with the same weakness, it does not always preserve certain desirable traits. Most flowering plants can be cloned from cuttings, which can be taken from stems or leaves. Some plants grow easily from cuttings, others are more stubborn. Additionally, some plants grow only from particular types of cuttings. Before starting, find out specific propagation information for your plants.

Stem Cuttings

Step 1

Add a small amount of root hormone to a small container.

Step 2

Add the growing medium to the pot, then spray the medium until it's moist.

Step 3

Poke a hole in the medium.

Step 4

Cut off a 2-inch stem of a small herbaceous (non-woody) plant or a 5-inch stem of a larger one, including leaves. Don't take stems that have flower buds.

Step 5

Cut stems diagonally during the softwood or semi-hardwood growth stage of a woody flowering plant, taking about 6 inches. Again, don't include buds. Softwood is new growth occurring early in the season. Semi-hardwood is maturing new growth, found starting around mid-July.

Step 6

Strip leaves from the bottom third to half of the cutting.

Step 7

Dip the cut end of the stem into the hormone. Dip any low node on the stem into the hormone, as well. (A node is a bump or place from which a leave or flower will emerge.)

Step 8

Stick the stem into the hole you earlier made in the medium, pushing it in all the way to the leaves. Push soil around the stem so that it is planted.

Step 9

Enclose the pot in a plastic bag. Seal the bag.

Step 10

Place the cutting in a warm area that receives indirect light.

Step 11

Keep the growing medium moist, checking it every few days to make sure it's not drying out.

Step 12

Begin checking for roots by gently pulling the cutting. When you begin this checking depends on your plant's propagation habits, revealed in your preliminary research. Some plants root in a week; others take several weeks, even months, to root.

Step 13

Remove the bag when you find roots.

Step 14

Transplant the new plant to a permanent home with appropriate soil when roots grow about an inch long.

Leaf Cuttings

Step 1

Cut through the fleshy petioles to collect thick leaves like those of African Violets. The petioles should be about a 1/2-inch long. (A petiole is the "stem" of a leaf.)

Step 2

Collect the leaf only of succulents like sedum that have fleshy leaves and those like begonia that can be propagated through their veins.

Step 3

Dip the petioles or bottoms of leaves into root hormone, then push the leaves into the soil. (This doesn't apply to leaves to be propagated through veins.)

Step 4

Cut through the veins of the remaining leaves.

Step 5

Lay the leaf on the growing medium, pinning it close to the medium if the leaf won't lay flat.

Step 6

Care for all the leaf cuttings the same as you would for stem cuttings.

Things You'll Need

  • Rooting hormone
  • Small container
  • Growing medium such as a 50-50 perlite/coir mix
  • Flower pots
  • Water-filled spray bottle
  • Pencil or straight stick
  • Small pruning shears or sharp knife
  • Stock plant
  • Plastic bag large enough to enclose flower pots
  • Potting soil
  • Sharp knife
  • Straight pins (optional)


  • * University of Illinois Extension: Vegetative Propagation of Houseplants
  • University of Missouri Extension: Home Propagation of Houseplants
  • Master Gardener, Ohio State University Extension: Asexual Propagation of Plants
Keywords: growing flowers from cuttings, using cuttings to grow flowering plants, plants from leaf cuttings, plants from stem cuttings

About this Author

S. Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media who specializes in making the complex clear. A freelancer for over 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover many topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews, learning a lot and talking to many interesting people.