Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Reproduce Plants From Cuttings

By Julie Richards ; Updated September 21, 2017

Two ways to propagate plants from cuttings are stem and root cuttings. Leaf cuttings are propagated much the same way as stem cuttings. The propagation techniques vary slightly, but the concept of rooting the cuttings is the same. The cuttings root to produce another plant just like the host plant. Growth times vary with each method and are determined by the type of plant you want to reproduce from the cuttings.

Stem Cuttings

Make stem cuttings during the spring or late fall when new growth appears. The cuttings should be 6 to 8 inches long and need to be cut just under a leaf node. This is the part where the leaves and the stem meet. The node allows new roots to form for the cuttings to grow. Expose the bottom 3 inches of the stem by removing the lower leaves.

Fill the grow tray or pots with the sterile growing medium. A 50-50 mixture of peat moss and vermiculite or a good quality potting soil works well for reproducing plants from cuttings. Water the soil, but not too much. Soggy soil causes the plant cuttings to rot.

Pour a tbsp. or two of rooting compound onto a plastic tray so any disease from the host plant does not contaminate the entire bottle of compound. Dip the plant cuttings into the rooting compound and stick directly into the soil about 2 to 3 inches deep.

Place the plant cuttings in a warm, sunny location. The optimum temperature for plant cuttings to root is 75 degrees F. This can be obtained through the use of the heat mat if the days are cold. Watch for signs of stress, like wilting or discoloration, and remove any cuttings showing signs of mold. Stem cuttings will root in three to six weeks and can be potted in larger containers until the desired size is obtained.

Root Cuttings

Cut a 6-to-8-inch section of root from the host plant and further divide this section into smaller 2-inch sections.

Place the root cuttings into a plastic bag along with 2 tbsp. of rooting compound. Shake the bag to cover the root cuttings well with the compound.

Remove the root cuttings and plant them directly into individual growing pots filled with moist soil. Place the pots in clear plastic bags or cover them with plastic and set the pots in a warm, sunny location.

Ventilate the grow pots once or twice a day to keep mold from growing on the surface of the soil and to regulate the temperature inside the tiny "greenhouses."

Watch for signs of new growth and leaves sprouting from the soil in about four to six weeks. Keep the new plants protected from direct sunlight until at least two pairs of leaves have formed. Remove the plastic and move into a brighter location. Continue monitoring the new plants until they are of a significant size to repot or transplant into the landscape.


Things You Will Need

  • Sterile growing medium
  • Grow trays or pots
  • Pruning shears
  • Rooting compound
  • Misting system or spray bottle
  • Heating mat (optional)
  • Clear plastic (optional)


  • Reproduce plants from leaf cuttings in the same manner as stem cuttings. Instead of an entire stem, a single leaf is dipped in the rooting hormone and placed in the soil.

About the Author


Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for over 30 years, and published a variety of e-books and articles on gardening, small business and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.