Friday, May 6, 2011


Growing plants from stem cuttings is easy!  You can take root cuttings from both annuals and perennials. They will take root (some will be quicker than others). After they are established,  you can plant these propagated plants in your beds to enjoy.  There are a few steps that will improve your chances for success:
  1. Take your cuttings when plants are growing, BUT NOT  BLOOMING.  NOW is a good time if your plants aren't blooming.  In fact, I think some plants and shrubs are better taken in early spring, as the new spring shoots are starting to grow.
  2. Use a sharp knife and take just the tips, about 2-4" long, of the plant you want to start. Choose the stems that are fat and stocky, not long and thin.  Cut BELOW a LEAF BUD, or NODE, and remove the leaves all along the stem, leaving 2 or 3 leaves at the very tip.
  3. After cutting, IMMEDIATELY  put cuttings in your pre-prepared, moistened rooting pot or jar.  (I also use rooting powder--to do this, just dip the base of a moistened stem in the powder.  The powder will stick to it--just shake the excess off).
  4. Place your stem halfway  into your container (I use peat pots), filled half-way up with a growing mix.  Keep this moist, BUT NOT SOGGY.  (I use a blend of perlite and a sterile seed starting mixture).  Use a pencil to poke a hole so that you can easily insert the stem into it, then press the growing mix around the stem. 
  5. Take a couple of sticks or straws or something like that, and poke them down into the growing mix at the sides, to form a canopy over the pot, then cover loosely with some clear plastic wrap.  (You want to make a humid environment for the cutting--if you want to make it even more humid, you can tape the plastic around the outside of your container).  If you see that they are starting to rot after a while, vent your plastic with some holes.
  6. Put your containers outside in a protected area from direct sun and wind.  Remember to keep your pots moist, but not soggy.
  7. Your cuttings should be ready in about 3 weeks--although with some it might take a little longer; others may even be ready in 2 weeks.  You know if they're ready if, when you tug on the cutting, you feel a little resistance--a sign that it has rooted.
  8. After they've rooted, carefully transfer them into a larger pot, or a protected bed until they're big enough that you can plant them where you want them permanently. 
  9. Some plants, like coleus, begonias and tomatoes, root pretty quickly in just a mason jar of water.  Just make sure that the bottom of your cutting is in 2" of water, free from leaves, with leaves attached above the water.  Replace the water every few days to keep it fresh.  You'll see roots in just 1 or two weeks.  One plant that is very successful to do this with are chrysanthemums (Make sure you do it now--early in the spring).  After they root, pot them up with a well-drained potting mix and place in a sheltered spot to develop well before moving them to their permanent place in the garden.
Bee Balm
Butterfly Bush
Russian Sage
Spider Plant

REMEMBER, though, that not EVERY cutting will develop roots--if at first you don't succeed, just try again.  If they don't root, try earlier in the season next year. 
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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