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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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June 6, 2016 Flag

June is the best month for rooting most plants.
So, it's bragging time. No, it's tip time. Well, honestly, it's neither.


I'll tell you at the bottom what it actually is.

First some pictures, (and maybe just a little bragging).

Picture one is of Royal Hustler ivy. It's a nice, low growing variety. I'm rooting lots to use as a ground cover under maple trees. I've stopped mowing under these trees because of the exposed roots. I don't care for the ivy's name, though. I always think of some con man trying to do an injustice to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2. June Is Plant Rooting Month

Picture two is of Golden Flame honeysuckle. This thing is beautiful. They can grow to become huge plants, covered with blooms from May til frost. June Is Plant Rooting Month

As shown in picture 2b, I am training these to be standards. They will have the shape of a small tree and I can put them about anywhere. June Is Plant Rooting Month

Picture three is of Euonymus Fortunei Emerald Gaiety. It seems there are two plants with this name. One is a winter creeper. Mine is the upright variety. I love it as a foundation planting, kept at about two feet. It looks as if it were a variegated boxwood. June Is Plant Rooting Month

Picture four is trailing lantana. I always take a few cuttings to keep over winter. In the spring, I put these cuttings in hanging baskets. More flowers for me, or for what I really them away. June Is Plant Rooting Month

Picture five is of orange moss rose. Though near impossible to see, there are over 150 rootings here. They all came from two 6 cell packs purchased at half price. I will use these to plant a fifty foot border atop a small bank. June Is Plant Rooting Month

Picture six is of more impatiens cuttings and mum cuttings. With all the shady areas I have, the impatiens will come in handy. I may give many of them away. Incidentally, a note about the mum cuttings, these cuttings were taken from a 'garden variety' mum which I overwintered above ground in a pot. Most people believe the garden variety mum cannot successfully be overwintered. Don't you believe it. If you do try to overwinter one of these, you must provide excellent drainage lest the roots rot. June Is Plant Rooting Month

Picture seven, I kept for last. I won't tell you the name of this rose as it is patented. I accidentally broke a piece from the parent plant. Rather than throw it away (I would never do such a dastardly thing, patent or no), I rooted it. June Is Plant Rooting Month

What is a bit unusual about this rose stem rooting, is that I bought the parent plant this spring, broke the piece off this spring, and rooted that piece this spring. And now, late May, it has bloomed! This is a first for me, and People, you can believe me when I say, 'I am happy!

Now, as to the purpose of this post. It's not a tip nor a bragging post. It is to offer a word of encouragement. To those of you who would say 'I don't have a green thumb, I can't root anything', my reply is, 'Nonsense'!

I am no horticulturist, not even a master gardener. I have had no training, formal or otherwise, in plant propagation. All I have is a love for this ship and a love for much of the vegetation growing on it.

That love extends to sharing the more desirable species and their varieties. Just yesterday, I gave several large blackberry plants to a lady from West Virginia who answered my ad in Freecycle. The plants were blooming. Some were beginning to bear. She told me her sons loved her homemade blackberry jam. The look on her face when she saw the size of the plants brought me a feeling of pleasure money can't buy.

Most of you wouldn't want to propagate on a large scale, but if you have a favorite African violet you'd like to root, or as in the case of the lady from West Virginia, a rose bush that belonged to her great, great grandparents, I say 'It can be done'. There is no more pleasure than in giving someone a plant and saying, ' I rooted this just for you'.

So, be a little patient. Each plant has it's own unique set of requirements for rooting. These must be learned. Expect trial and error. Read online. Ask the advice of friends. Call your local ag agent. And you can always ask a question right here on ThriftyFun. You're sure to get a number of replies with what works best for each person answering.

Root Y'all!

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    March 24, 2016 Flag
    3 found this helpful
    Clippings from My Garden

    Photo Description
    My friend asked me for clippings from my garden and this is what she is getting. These succulents sit in a wooden box and floral foam oasis. The handle is foxtail fern and the succulents include aeoniums, kiwi, burro's tail, campfire, and many filler plants from my garden. I say spring is here!

    Photo Location
    Montebello, Southern California

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    July 13, 2015 Flag

    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.rooted lantana cuttings

    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.

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      October 12, 2012 Flag
      7 found this helpful

      I 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.

      Bottle Propagator

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      May 16, 2016 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      This is a guide about rooting impatiens cuttings. One way to save money on garden plants is to divide up your plant purchase by preparing cutting from the main plant.

      Rooting Impatients Cuttings

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      December 6, 2010 Flag
      4 found this helpful

      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.

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      December 3, 2009 Flag

      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!

      Growing houseplants from cuttings.

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      November 20, 2011 Flag

      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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      January 14, 2016 Flag
      1 found this helpful

      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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      October 22, 2015 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      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?

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        October 27, 20150 found this helpful

        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.

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        October 2, 2008 Flag
        1 found this helpful

        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.

        Get Free Hedges And Plants By Propagating Your Own

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        April 4, 2006 Flag
        0 found this helpful

        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.

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        May 16, 2012 Flag
        1 found this helpful

        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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        January 28, 2008 Flag

        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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        March 13, 2010 Flag
        0 found this helpful

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

        Hardiness Zone: 9a

        By Kevin

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        March 19, 20100 found this helpful

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

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        Read More Answers...

        July 5, 2006 Flag
        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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        August 2, 20060 found this helpful

        -- 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.


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        August 29, 2005 Flag
        0 found this helpful

        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.

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        April 30, 2012 Flag
        0 found this helpful

        How do I root plants (whips)?

        By Eddie

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        May 7, 20120 found this helpful

        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.

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        August 29, 2007 Flag
        1 found this helpful

        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.

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        November 24, 2011 Flag
        0 found this helpful

        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?

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