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How to Grow Plants From Cut Flowers

Many flowering plants can be propagated from cuttings of existing plants. If successful, the cuttings will take root and grow to resemble the plants from which the cuttings were taken (similar to cloning). Some flowers are easier to propagate from cut flowers than others. Some of the easiest are azaleas, geraniums, roses, hydrangeas and lavender, to name a few.

Water your plants the day before you plan to take cuttings. If you already have a cut flower, skip to Step 4.

Choose a flower stem that is healthy and has green leaves. The cutting shouldn’t be the newest growth on the plant, which is often too soft, or the oldest growth, which is often too woody.

Cut off the stem with sharp clippers at a 45-degree angle. Take the cutting in the morning when the plant is coolest and well hydrated. Cut near where it branches off from the parent branch. Cuttings are usually about 4 to 8 inches long; however, you will trim it later.

Place the cutting in water immediately. The cut end should be in water, but avoid getting any leaves in the water.

Select a pot with drainage holes and fill it about two-thirds with potting soil that does not have fertilizer or manure in it. You can also use perlite or mix the perlite with equal parts of peat and vermiculite.

Trim the cutting so all that remains is the top 4 to 6 inches. Cut at an angle again, and just below a node (a bump or swelling in the stem).

Pinch off the leaves on the bottom 3 inches and cut off any larger leaves, buds, flowers and new stem growths from the rest of the cutting. Then remove half of the remaining leaves and cut large leaves in half to reduce water loss.

Cover the bottom of the cutting with a rooting hormone, available at most local nurseries. This step is optional, but may help your cutting take root.

Poke your finger or a pencil to form a hole and plant the cutting 3 inches beneath the soil. Pack the soil around the cutting and space multiple cuttings 1 inch apart.

Water the cuttings so the soil is moist. Keep the soil consistently moist, but do not drown your cuttings--or allow them to dry out. To help, place a clear, open plastic bag over the cuttings to maintain moisture. Use wooden stakes to hold the bag up.

Place the cuttings in an area that is out of direct sunlight. Each cutting variety has different light needs, but most prefer indirect sunlight (near a window with a light curtain filtering some of the sun).

Keep an eye on your cuttings. Continue to keep the soil moist and every couple of weeks, tug on them gently to see if there is any resistance. If so, they are successfully rooting. You can also check by carefully lifting the pot to look for roots near the drainage holes. If so, replant your cuttings in larger pots or in the garden.

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