How to Propagate Cuttings


Many types of trees, shrubs and perennial plants can be propagated from a cutting. Plants that are propagated by a cutting will have identical characteristics as the parent plant. Cuttings can be taken either when plants are dormant in the winter season, or when new shoots appear during the summer. Propagating your plants from cuttings can cut down on the amount of time it takes to develop new plants.

Step 1

Water the plants you would like to propagate from cuttings well the day before you begin. Choose healthy trees or plants to use. Take hardwood cuttings when plants are dormant in winter or early spring. New green softwood cuttings are taken during the growing season.

Step 2

Clean your pruning scissors with rubbing alcohol to prevent bacteria or disease from spreading between your plants.

Step 3

Locate a shoot from the most current growing season. Use your pruning scissors to cut of a 6-inch piece off the new stem. Cut just below a node where a bud or leaf has grown. Make sure softwood cuttings have at least three sets of leaves.

Step 4

Remove half of the leaves from the bottom part of your softwood cutting or the buds from the bottom two inches of a hardwood cutting. This will increase the amount of water that is available for your cutting to form roots. Make sure there are no flowers or fruit on your cutting that can take the water that needs to go to forming roots.

Step 5

Dip the bottom of your cutting in rooting hormone. Fill your plant pot with equal portions of perlite and vermiculite that has been mixed together well.

Step 6

Bury three inches of the bottom part of your cutting in the soil. Make sure no leaves are touching the soil surface. Place one wooden stick into each corner of the pot, and place a plastic bag over your plant to increase the humidity.

Step 7

Give your planted cutting indirect sunlight to prevent it from getting too warm. Check to see if your new plant has developed new roots by pressing your fingers into the soil around the plant every two weeks. Remove the plastic bag once roots have developed.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plant pot
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite


  • Purdue University: New Plants from Cuttings
Keywords: planting a cutting, propagating trees, propagating from a cutting

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.