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How to Grow Desert Willow Cuttings

Desert willows are feathery trees popular in the southwestern United States. Though it has willow-like leaves, the desert willow is a member of the bignonia family and is not a true willow. It produces white to dark burgundy flowers that bloom from April until late autumn. Desert willows are easy to grow from cuttings and usually develop roots within two to three weeks. Follow a few simple steps to grow your very own desert willow tree from a cutting.

Cut a small branch. Find a desert willow and cut a small branch of hardwood (dormant) or semi-hardwood (active). Early spring is the best time to take a new cutting as the plant is producing new shoots.

Place the cutting in a glass of water. Put the cut side down into a clean glass of water near natural light. The plant will secrete chemicals to encourage root growth. Never empty out the water; only add small amounts of water as it evaporates.

Mist your cutting daily. Once roots start to form, mist your plant less frequently to encourage the cuttings to harden off and become ready for transplanting.

Add rooting hormones. If the roots are slow-growing, add rooting hormones to encourage growth. Applying 10,000 ppm indolebutyric acid can be beneficial.

Transplant. Once the cutting has sprouted four to five roots several inches long, plant in a medium-sized container. Water the plant frequently and keep soil well-drained.

Plant in the ground. After several months of container growth, your desert willow tree should have grown a root ball. Plant it in an outdoor area with full sun and well-drained soil.


Late May or early June is the best time to take a cutting from a desert willow tree.


After a few weeks in water, the leaves may dry up. As long as there are root buds growing, do not throw the cutting out. It will eventually produce new leaves.

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