Cutting Propagation

Last updated: August 15, 2017

What Does Cutting Propagation Mean?

Cutting propagation is growing a plant from a stem or root, that has been cut from another plant.

Stem cuttings are the most common and easiest method of propagating woody ornamental landscape plants. Almost every landscape favorite can be propagated by cutting propagation.

Trees are typically more difficult to propagate, but some varieties of trees can be. Crape myrtle, birch, and some elms are commonly propagated by stem cutting.


Maximum Yield Explains Cutting Propagation

Some plants, such as a willow, are so easy to propagate by stem cutting that they are quickly rooted by just placing the stem in a pail of water. Other shrubs and bushes do not propagate as easily and require a special root hormone, which is a natural or synthesized additive that promotes and enhances root growth. Willow bark is a common, readily available growth enhancer that is often used.

Many varieties that are propagated by stem cutting may require special planting mixes heavy in peat moss or consistently moist soil blend and lots of humidity. Sometimes the cuttings are tented by covering the pot or tray with plastic, essentially creating a mini-greenhouse.

Other plants will root on their own in moist conditions in an open greenhouse. For some root cuttings, such as red twig dogwood, the preferred method is to wrap a small bundle of cuttings in a paper towel moistened with water. Once tiny hair roots appear the cuttings may transplanted into a pot.

Cutting propagation is primarily used for more woody plants such as shrubs and bushes, but there are some perennials (e.g., sedum) that are also easily propagated by stem cutting. Some have reported success propagating mums and gardenias by stem cutting. While most often propagated through division, there are some houseplants that are also easily grown from cutting propagation, such as African violets and snake plants.


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