Starting Plants from Cuttings

One of the best way to get new plants for your home and garden is by taking cuttings from an existing plant. There are several techniques to ensure success. This is a guide for starting plants from cuttings.

A cutting of a plant growing in a clay pot.
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Tip: Rooting Lantana Cuttings

By likekinds 114 508

I tried rooting lantana several times without much success. I was using the standard method for taking cuttings. When I told a nice lady friend about my poor results, she told me I would have better luck if I took cuttings from the tips of the plant. Since taking her advice, I have had near 100% success.

When taking cuttings, it is good to have the parent plant well hydrated. I take cuttings in the cooler part of the day, usually late evening, and always try to work in the shade.

The parent plant is in a small pot. It has lots of bloom buds. Since this is a trailing type lantana, it will look nice if allowed to grow larger in a hanging basket. I will transplant it after taking my cuttings. Rooting Lantana Cuttings

I prepare a pot with a rich, light, moist but not wet soil. If the soil drains readily and is rich in organic matter, no special potting or rooting soil is necessary, nor is rooting hormone.

With clean, sharp scissors, I cut tips from the stems. I select stems without flowers or flower buds. You should have good success with cuttings that have blooms or buds if you snip them off before inserting them in soil. Make a cut just below the third pair of leaves (not counting any very small leaves at the tip). Carefully cut away the third and second pair of leaves. Insert the cuttings in the soil to a depth of midway between lower joint. Rooting Lantana Cuttings

Cover the cuttings with plastic to retain moisture during the rooting process. When rooting small amounts of cuttings, I find it convenient to use an inverted soda bottle from which the top has been removed. Rooting Lantana Cuttings

Place the pot in a place with bright or dappled light but not direct sun. Check the soil occasionally to make sure it stays moderately moist but not wet. Within 3-4 weeks, you should notice small, new growth at the tips of the cuttings. If a cutting is lifted, you should see roots. At this point, wait 2 weeks before carefully lifting the cuttings to transplant them into their permanent container.

Any of the summer months is a good time to root lantanas. I always root a few, in case I should loose my larger plants. And don't forget, in the true gardener's spirit, they are nice to give as gifts.

rooted lantana cuttings

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    Tip: Get Free Hedges and Plants By Propagating Your Own

    By Cyinda 214 1,287

    Get Free Hedges And Plants By Propagating Your Own

    Get Free Hedges And Plants By Propagating Your Own

    I live in an area where I need privacy but can't afford to buy all the plants I need to grow a hedge, so I decided to propagate my own plants for free! All you need to buy is a container of rooting hormone (under $5) and several bags of playground sand.

    Take a shallow box that's about 4 to 6 inches high then put the box inside of a plastic garbage bag, then poke holes for drainage. It's important to have good drainage. I prefer to use old soda-pop crates. The kind they use to deliver pop cans in, but wooden boxes will also work as well as cardboard ones in a pinch. You'll need to put your propagating sandbox in a shady place out of direct sun. This box will be heavy and hard to move, so find a place you'd like it to stay or put the box in an old wagon if you think you'd like to move it later.

    Now, all you have to do is to find the kind of plants you'd like to propagate. I chose English Laurel because it grows very fast at 1 - 2 feet per year and it's also evergreen, but you can propagate many types of plants for indoor or outdoor use. You can find plants that grow in the wild, and sometimes you can get cuttings off of plants at businesses (always ask first!) It helps to keep a jug of water and a pocket knife with you "just in case"! And of course, there's your friends and neighbors. They are usually very happy to let you take several cuttings. But what I do is to wait until I know someone is trimming their hedges or pruning them, I'll then ask if I can help them by taking away their mess and use this to take cuttings from.

    After you have your plants, put them into a vase of water overnight. I cut the tops off of 2 liter plastic pop bottles and use these as propagating "vases". Your propagated plants will not have roots to get their own water from for weeks, so you need to make sure they are well hydrated to start with. After your plants have sat for 1 or 2 days in the clean water, cut the bottoms off leaving 5 or so leaves so the plants can make chlorophyll and are no more than 8 inches high. Dip the bottom end of the plant into water to moisten it, then into rooting power and lastly, put the plant into the sand and into a hole you've just made with a stick. Try to keep as much rooting hormone power on to the small plant as you can as you are planting it. After you've planted as many cuttings as you'd like be sure to water them well. With some plants it's best to take cuttings in the spring, and with others it's best in the summer or fall.

    Here's links with more detailed information:

    By Cyinda from near Seattle

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    Rock Garden Rooting Glass

    Rooting in water is one of the best ways to start a plant. Just take a few snips from a plant that you love, being sure to include a growth node or two. Strip off any leaves that will be beneath the level of water in the glass, then place the stem end into water in a clear glass container. Stand it in a sunny window, and within a week or so, you'll see the roots beginning to grow.

    From the time that I was little, there was nearly always a cutting from a plant sitting in a glass in a sunny window in my grandmother's kitchen. I continue the tradition when I can, but my own tastes run to using the glasses and jars that I find in my shopping travels. Beautiful glasses are so very inexpensive, and lend themselves to creating lovely things. I seldom can pass up an unusual piece of crystal. The shape of this glass is unique, but the garden idea can be used with any wide mouthed bowl glass, or even a large brandy snifter.

    The peace and serenity of an Oriental garden are equal parts color, living plants, and the natural stone. Even the structures that are placed in the garden are in keeping with nature, sandstone or natural wood, in lines that harmonize with the graceful shapes of garden plants. The materials used for the cuttings planter are simple to find and easy to assemble.


    • wide-mouthed stemmed glass
    • one bag of river rock or washed aquarium gravel
    • one or two small sandstone or ceramic gazebos or towers, to scale for the glass
    • cuttings of ivy, philodendron, spider plant, or other house plants that root in water


    1. Wash and rinse glass well.
    2. Dump river rocks or aquarium gravel in a sieve or colander and wash well under running water.
    3. Fill glass with rocks to just below the rim of the glass. If using a brandy snifter, fill to just below where the glass begins to bell inward.
    4. Strip any leaves on bottom 2-3 inches of cuttings. If desired, dip ends of stems in purchased rooting mix.
    5. Carefully insert the ends of the stems into the rocks, nudging stones aside with fingertip if necessary.
    6. Arrange benches, pagodas or other decorations on surface of rocks.
    7. Fill glass with water to just below the level of the rocks. Tap water works just fine. Distilled water is "dead" water; while it's pure and free of any contaminants, it also has no nutrients in it. If desired, you can mix rooting mixture according to package directions and substitute for the water.
    Rooting plant in stemmed glass with rocks and water.

    Caring for your planter:
    Simply top up the water any time that the surface of the rocks is dry.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Starting Clematis From Clippings

    By karen 1

    Clematis Flower


    Hi Ellen,

    I love clematis and I have bought 3 plants this year. My garden is all around the perimeter of my yard with a fence. I would like to have them growing eventually all around but the expense is not within my budget. How can I start new plants from clippings of my already purchased plants?

    Karen from Leamington, Ontario Canada


    Hi Karen,

    The most common ways to propagate clematis (other than from seed) is by cuttings or layering. Cuttings tend to have a lower success rate and layering tends to take longer. Cuttings can be taken in May or June from shoots containing this year's growth. The shoots should be semi-hard wood (not too green, yet not fully hardened) and contain 2 to 3 leaf nodes. Wound the cuttings slightly by scraping off a small amount of plant tissue around the base. Dip them into a rooting hormone and place them in a pot filled with a light rooting mix (e.g. 2 parts sand, 1 part peat). Cut the bottom leaves off (leaving only stubs) and cut the top leaves in half. This will help reduce moisture loss. Moisten the rooting mix and cover the entire pot with a plastic dome made from a cut off 2-liter soda bottle (remove the cap). With good light and warm temperatures, the cuttings should root in 5 to 6 weeks. Cuttings taken in the early spring (May) sometimes take longer to root, so be patient. If you see roots by August, go ahead and plant the rooted cuttings outdoors. If you don't see any roots by then, keep the cuttings indoors over winter and plant them next spring.

    Layering clematis is usually much easier for people than taking cuttings and you can do this in the fall. Select a mature stem (this year's or last year's growth) and slice a cut into it about 3 to 4 inches from the tip. This slit is where the new roots will emerge. Prop the wound open with a small piece of toothpick or grain of rice and dust it with a rooting hormone (one that contains a fungicide, if possible). Bend the shoot so that you can secure the wounded node to the soil with a bent piece of wire and then cover it lightly with soil. Rooting may take as long as 9 - 12 months, but once formed, you can cut the rooted portion away from the parent plant, carefully dig it up and move it to the desired location.

    For more information on propagating clematis visit the International Clematis Society (

    Good Luck! Ellen

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    Most Recent Answer

    By likekinds 114 508 Flag

    January 25, 2015

    For those of you who couldn't get this link to work (I couldn't),

    Here is a link to an excellent video with information on starting Clematis from cuttings.I've tried this method and it works very well.

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Rooting Plants in Water

    This is a guide about rooting plants in water. Rooting your new plant cutting in water is a very effective method. Depending on your choice of container it can also be interesting to watch the roots develop.

    spider plant in flask

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    Tip: Bottle Propagator

    By Richard 9 36

    Bottle PropagatorI made this simple propagator today to hold some sage cuttings that I took from my garden. Cut a plastic bottle in half, place the plant and pot in the bottom half of the bottle, and use the top to cover the cutting. Remove the bottle top occasionally to remove the condensation which helps the cuttings to avoid damping off.

    By Richard from UK

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    Tip: Growing New Houseplants From Cuttings

    By Lee Taylor 15 427

    Growing houseplants from cuttings.Free plants! All these plants came from one original plant! Bromeliads are great for this because they naturally produce "pups" and you just break them off at the base and put the new pup in potting soil and you have a new plant!

    I've also had huge success with jade plants by clipping off a piece and putting it in potting soil. I do this regularly, and I've found they come in very handy as gifts for house warming presents or get well soon gifts or any occasion. This is the ultimate in thrifty fun! You can get clippings from neighbors' plants and do trades, too. Most people are happy to share, just ask and then offer some from your own garden/yard.

    By Lee from Indialantic, FL

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    Tip: Ask For Plant Cuttings

    By kathleen blakley 6 26

    I usually ask friends and family for starts off their plants. When I go to a nursery or store that sells plants, I look on their floors. A lot of times you can find broken stems that can be rooted in water.

    White flower with a purple throat, maybe a Rose of Sharon.

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    Tip: Grow Plants from Cuttings

    By joycerose 2 3

    I have had good success in growing many things from cuttings, like hibiscus and frangipani (plumeria), by dipping the stem in honey and putting the cutting into sandy potting mix mixed 50/50. If the weather is cold to cool, a plastic bag over the pot gives a hothouse style of growing.

    Hydrangeas grow easily from cuttings too. Make sure there is a least 3 eyes (leaf nodes). The bottom one should be placed in the soil (I use potting mix) and this is where the roots will grow from, Also cutting off any large leaves is important so all of the plants energy can go to making roots.

    Source: This was information from my mother who was an avid gardener

    By Roslyn from Morley, WA

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    Tip: Planting Branches

    It's easy to grow shrubs and many other plants by simply planting a branch. Cut off a branch and bury it in decent soil leaving only 6-8 inches out of the ground. It may be small, but it will grow. I have even grown two white pine trees from cuttings. It also works well to grow ivy and some perennials (no root necessary). It's fun and saves money too.

    By Virginia from Cincinnati, OH

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    Tip: Grow Cuttings To Give Away

    By Vi Johnson 286 801

    There are many plants that let you take cutting to start new plants. Why not start some in "give-a-way pots". I have several transplants waiting for the right person.

    Grow Cuttings To Give Away

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    Question: Rooting a Geranium

    By Michelle Remington 2 9

    Q: I have a geranium that is three years old, I keep it inside. It is very large! One of the branches broke off when I was watering it and I was wondering if there was anyway of getting it to root. I put it in a vase of water as soon as it happened, this was 2 weeks ago and it is still doing very well. The buds have opened and no leaves have died. Should I leave it in the water or should I use a rooting compound and put it in dirt? Any suggestions? The pink one is the plant it broke off of.

    Hardiness Zone: 5b

    Michelle from New York

    A: Michelle,

    Geraniums are one the easiest plants to root from cuttings. If you leave yours in water, you will see tiny roots emerging before you know it. You can also root stem cuttings in a soil-less potting medium. To do this, remove a stem cutting about 3 or 4 leaf joints from the tip. Make sure you remove any potential flower heads so the cuttings direct all of their energy into roots. Remove the bottom leaves and insert the cutting into a growing medium (about 40% perlite and 60% soil-less mix or 50% peat and 50% sand). Keep the growing medium light and airy so the new roots have plenty of room to grow. Geraniums usually take to rooting just fine without dipping the cuttings into a rooting hormone, but if you prefer, dip each stem into a rooting hormone before inserting them into the growing medium. Water the new cuttings and then make a greenhouse for them by covering the pot with a plastic bag. Place the pot in a location where the temperature stays warm throughout the day and doesn't drop down too far at night. After 10 to 20 days, the cuttings should start forming roots. Pinch back the stems as they grow to encourage side shoots.

    Good luck!

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    Most Recent Answer

    By ~ Wendola ~ 1 34 Flag

    August 2, 2006

    -- Mine didn't grow; they all died. What did I do wrong?



    I dont think you did anything wrong. You might have brought them out to soon and frost got them. Where do you live? Or you may have not given them enough water.


    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Starting Plants from Cuttings

    By Kevin 1

    I would like advice for starting new plants from clippings of the plants I have.

    Hardiness Zone: 9a

    By Kevin

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Most Recent Answer

    By Vi Johnson 286 801 Flag

    March 19, 2010

    It would help to know the kind of plants you want to start. GG Vi

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    Tip: Everlasting Mothers Day Flowers - Rooting Cut Flowers

    By rhondah 2

    Starting roots on fresh flowers so they can be planted and come back every year. The gift that keeps on giving.

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    Tip: Your Spring Garden for Pennies

    By Margret 5 12

    Many plants, including those considered annuals in your area, can be over-wintered indoors and used as starts in your spring garden, whether it be in the ground or in containers, or both.

    A patch of brightly colored coleus.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Starting a Garden with Cuttings from Friends and Family

    By badwater 263 654

    If you're wanting to landscape your property, but not wanting to spend a lot of money doing so, alert your family, friends, fellow church members, co-workers, etc.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Starting Plants from Cuttings

    By Cape Cod Girl 1

    I am moving in November from Rhode Island to Cape Cod, Massachusetts and need to bring a small root of my dad's lilac tree, my mom's peonies bulbs, and small roots of forsythias. Can someone tell me how to preserve these over the winter to be able to plant them at my new home in the spring please?

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

      Most Recent Answer

      By robbi 3 Flag

      October 27, 2015

      Store them in damp peat moss in a very cool place and they should be fine.They are all quite tough. Remember to make sure you have at least 5 eyes on your peony or it will take a long time to bloom. Keep the most you can.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Rooting Whips

      How do I root plants (whips)?

      By Eddie

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

      Most Recent Answer

      By GuyB 13 Flag

      May 7, 2012

      You didn't specify what type of plants but it sounds like you are trying to root some sort of tree whips. If that is the case just cut

      off the whips you want, remove lower leaves and cut bottoms at a slant. You can use a medium like rootone or if you have access to a willow tree just cut off several branches {fresh and small} and pour boiling water over them and allow to cool. Just put the fresh cut whips in a container and add the willow water and wait for them to root. Check the ends occasionally to make sure they are not getting slimy and change the willow water at least once a week (rooting hormones are made of willow bark!). Good luck.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Propagating Holly Shrubs from Cuttings

      A neighbour has given me 2 evergreen holly cuttings from her shrub which is growing beautifully. We believe that you must have a male and female to ensure the plant gets holly berries. Is this true and if so, how can I tell if I have both?

      Also any tips on rooting these cuttings would be appreciated.


      By Shell

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

      Most Recent Answer

      By Jan S. 3 Flag

      November 29, 2011

      It is true and sadly, there is no way to tell which you have. All you can do is wait and see if you get berries. If both cuttings are from the same shrub, they'll both be male or female depending on the parent.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

      Tip: Old Sandbox to Start Plant Cuttings

      By jim 15 3

      The kids old sandbox makes a great place to grow cuttings for starting new plants! Be sure to shade the new cuttings from the sun and water frequently until you see new growth. These little plants you are growing will sell for $5.00 each at your next garage sale!

      CommentWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Using Rooting Hormone on Perennials

      By kelly 2 1

      Can I use rooting hormone on perennial plants?

      Hardiness Zone: 4a

      By whiskell from Lacrosse, WI

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

      Most Recent Answer

      By kathleen williams 76 1,661 Flag

      September 2, 2009

      Yes, you can. For more info search for your question. Lot of info there, good luck.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Rooting Crape Myrtle Suckers

      By abigail chamberlain 1 5


      Can you root crape myrtle suckers? I have two shoots coming out of a whip I planted this past winter that may be suckers, and I was wondering if I should try to root them. Also, what is the best way to remove them from the tree? I've read that tearing them from the trunk is the best way but do not want to damage the tree.

      Hardiness Zone: 9a

      Abigail from Orlando, FL



      Yes. Crepe myrtles are easily propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings or young suckers. There is no need to tear them from the tree, though, that's generally a technique reserved for folks trying to eliminate suckers, as it is thought to limit their chances of re-sprouting.

      Summer is a great time for rooting cuttings. Young, semi-hardwood suckers work best. Remove them cleanly from the base of the parent plant, leaving three to four nodes per cutting and several leaves. Dip the cut ends into some rooting hormone and insert the cuttings several inches deep into a pot filled with a 50/50 mix of sand and peat or a similar type of lightweight mix. The cuttings should be kept moist for the next three to four weeks while they develop roots. I would recommend placing the pots in the shade, misting them regularly, and adding a few inches of mulch around the base of the cuttings to help conserve moisture.

      If you prefer to root the cuttings directly in the ground, prepare your cutting beds (preferably in the shade) by loosening up the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches, and mixing in a bit of well-rotted compost or peat moss into the soil. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone and insert them into the soil in the same way you would if you were using pots.

      After four to five weeks (maybe even sooner), the cuttings should have developed sufficient roots and can be transplanted to a permanent location in the garden. You can test the cuttings for roots by pulling on them gently. If you feel a bit of resistance, it is probably the result of roots.

      Good luck!


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      Most Recent Answer

      By guest (Guest Post) Flag

      June 13, 2008

      I never tried to actively root crepe myrtles but I've been successful in replanting the 'volunteer' shoots that come up around the shrub. I'm in zone 7 and there always seems to be plenty of extras.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

      Tip: Starting Trees (and other plants) From Slips

      I have used several methods for starting plants for my own use. I once moved on to property that had no trees. Early the next spring, with the blessing of a neighbor, I clipped very thin branches that where long and straight and more then 3 ft long and had buds barely cracked.

      CommentWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Preparing a Cutting to Use Rooting Compond

      What steps should I take for preparing my cuttings before dipping them into rooting compound?

      By Glenn

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

      Question: Texas Sage Cuttings

      How do I root cuttings of Texas sage?

      By Dianne

      AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

      Tip: Rooting Plant Cuttings

      By Chott 1

      An easy way to root angel trumpets, confederate rose, and rose of Sharon is to cut a branch off and put it in water halfway up the stem until it has roots.

      CommentWas this helpful? Yes

      Home and Garden Gardening CuttingsAugust 1, 2011
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