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How to Start a Boxwood Shrub From a Clipping

By Heide Braley ; Updated September 21, 2017

Boxwood bushes are an excellent landscaping plant. They look good all year, and need very little care. They can be clipped into all sorts of sizes and shapes and are perfect for hedges. Boxwood grown in full sun will transform into bronze bushes in the winter. Plants are most often propagated by taking softwood cuttings and rooting them.

Take a 6-inch section of branch from some of the current year's growth, first thing in the morning. This is when the plant will have taken up the most amount of water before the heat of the day comes. Typically, cuttings are only taken between July and October when the growth has had a chance to harden off.

Remove the leaves from the bottom 1 inch of the branch. These leaves will only rot when they are placed in the planting medium and could cause unwanted bacterial growth. New roots should grow from the leaf terminal. Place the cutting in water until you are ready to plant it.

Prepare your containers for the cuttings. If you are doing dozens of cuttings, you may find it is easier to use a tray instead of individual containers. Try to have at least 3 inches of potting soil in your container of choice, and ensure that there are drainage holes in the bottom. Mix equal parts of the peat moss and the perlite and water well. Place in the containers when ready to plant and poke 2-inch holes where the new plants will go.

Dip the trimmed branch into a bottle of dry rooting hormone. This will stimulate the plant into producing new roots. Push it in so that the bottom inch of the cutting is covered in the powder. Remove the cutting from the hormone and set the plant into the prepared holes in the potting soil. Press the soil in place carefully against the stem of the cutting.

Water the new cutting carefully so you don't wash away the soil. Place a plastic bag over the container to improve the levels of humidity. Keep in a warm room and check weekly for watering. New growth should appear after about 3 months of rooting.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Rooting hormone
  • 8-ounce cups with drainage holes
  • Perlite/peat moss
  • Plastic bag

About the Author


Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.