How to Root a Shrub


Most shrubs are deciduous plants that have woody stems that lose their leaves during the winter dormant months. The plants can be easily propagated to produce additional plants by taking semi-hardwood cuttings from midsummer through early just after new growth has been completed. Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken from new growth that is partially mature and starting to become firm and woody. Take the cuttings in the early morning while the plant is still hydrated.

Step 1

Cut 6-inch long semi-hardwood stem sections from the shrub with a pruning clipper or sharp knife. Choose new growth stems from the upper portion of the shrub that are firm and have mature-sized leaves.

Step 2

Remove the leaves from the lower half of the stems, cut all other leaves in half vertically and remove all flower buds from the stem. This will focus the growth energy on producing roots instead of maintaining leaf growth and flowers.

Step 3

Prepare a rooting medium by mixing equal parts of course sand, sterile peat moss and perlite. Moisten the medium with water so it is damp but not wet. Fill a rooting tray with the moistened medium.

Step 4

Dip the lower cut end of the stem in rooting hormone. Tap the stem to remove excess hormone if using the powdered type. Stick the stem section with no leaves into the rooting medium and gently firm the soil to hold in place.

Step 5

Mist the medium and stems with water to increase the humidity in the container. Place a clear plastic bag or cover over the tray to hold moisture around the stems during the rooting process. Mist the medium and stems when needed to prevent them from drying.

Step 6

Check for root formation 4 to 6 weeks after starting the process. Gently pull on the stems to see if there is resistance from root formation. Grow the cuttings until the roots reach a length of one inch.

Step 7

Transplant the cuttings into individual containers filled with sterile potting soil. Continue to grow the cuttings in containers for the first year.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clipper
  • Sharp knife
  • Scissors
  • Course sand
  • Sterile peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Water
  • Rooting tray
  • Rooting hormone
  • Water mister
  • Plastic cover
  • 4 inch growing containers
  • Bleach
  • Plastic bag
  • Paper towel


  • North Carolina University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  • Washington State University: Propagation Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees and Vines
Keywords: root shrubs, propagate shrubs, shrub stem cutting

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.