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How to Propagate Viburnum Odoratissimum

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

With its shiny, evergreen foliage and the sweet aroma of its blossoms, sweet viburnum, or viburnum odoratissimum, is a landscape favorite and good candidate for a privacy screen or hedge. Sweet viburnum is a large evergreen shrub that can reach heights of 20 feet at maturity and can spread out to widths of 15 feet. To propagate sweet viburnum, take softwood cuttings in early summer.

Wipe a sharp knife blade with rubbing alcohol to prevent the transmission of bacteria and disease to the cuttings. A dull blade can tear the stem tissue.

Cut from a healthy viburnum branch at stem that is 4 to 6 inches long. Cut at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf or a bud with a sharp knife. Cut from the current season's growth and ensure that it has at least three or four sets of leaves.

Fill a 4-inch pot with a mixture of half coarse sand and half peat moss. Dampen the potting mixture with a spray bottle.

Strip the leaves off the bottom half of the cutting. Dip the end of the cutting in powdered rooting hormone and plant the cutting in the damp potting mixture. Plant the entire bare stem in the potting mixture with the leaves above but not touching the potting mixture.

Put a clear plastic bag over the pot and install a few sticks in the bag to prevent the plastic from dropping onto the cutting. Secure the plastic with a rubber band.

Place the pot in indirect sunlight. Although light is important, hot sunlight will be intensified by the plastic and will burn the plant.

Keep the atmosphere constantly humid in the plastic bag. Open the bag and mist the soil with a spray bottle immediately if you notice there is no condensation on the inside of the bag or if the soil appears dry,

Check for roots in six to eight weeks. The easiest way to tell is by tugging gently on the viburnum cutting. If you feel a pull, the cutting has rooted.

Remove the plastic from the pot once the cutting has rooted. Move each cutting to its own 4-inch pot.

Keep the young sweet viburnum indoors until the next spring. Leave the sweet viburnum indoors or plant it in a sheltered place outdoors when spring arrives. After two years, the sweet viburnum will be mature enough to be moved to its permanent home.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 4-inch pot
  • Potting soil
  • Coarse sand
  • Spray bottle
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Plastic bag
  • Sticks
  • Rubber band

Tips

  • Take cuttings from sweet viburnum early in the day while the branches are still well-hydrated.
  • Plant three or four cuttings in a 4-inch pot. If you're planting more cuttings, use a larger pot or a seedling tray.

About the Author

 

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.