How to Take Hardwood Cuttings

If you love a particular shrub in your yard, why not have more of it? Given the right conditions, many plants will root from stem cuttings in spring or summer, or in winter from pieces of root.
Shrubs Grown From Cuttings Take Time to Bloom

Shrubs Grown From Cuttings Take Time to Bloom

It can take two or three years for a shrub grown from a cutting to reach flowering size, so take a few each year for a constant supply of new plants. If you don't have room for them yourself, your gardening friends will appreciate a gift.

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

It can take two or three years for a shrub grown from a cutting to reach flowering size, so take a few each year for a constant supply of new plants. If you don't have room for them yourself, your gardening friends will appreciate a gift.

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These are the easiest cuttings to grow, but you need patience, as rooting can take more than a year. Find a sheltered spot where the cuttings won't be disturbed. Use this method for deciduous shrubs, trees, roses and fruit.

Suitable Plants

  • boxwood
  • butterfly bush
  • deutzia
  • dogwood
  • elder
  • forsythia
  • flowering currant
  • mock orange
  • rose (including bush types)
  • spirea
  • viburnum
  • weigela
  • willow

Take a Healthy Stem

In autumn, select straight stems, about the thickness of a pencil and with plenty of buds, taken from the current year’s growth. Strip off any leaves and side shoots. You may be able to take several cuttings from a single stem.

Pencil Thin Stem Stripping

Pencil Thin Stem Stripping

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cut Into Sections

Make individual cuttings about 10 inches long. Cut straight along the bottom just below a bud, and make a slanted cut above a bud at the top. The cuts differentiate the top from the bottom, and allow you to plant the right way up.

Cut in Sections

Cut in Sections

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant in Ground

Make a narrow V-shaped trench by inserting a shovel about 8 inches in the soil and pushing it forward. Insert cuttings 6 inches apart, leaving a few buds above the surface. These will form the branches of the new shrub. Firm lightly, label and water.

Planting Cuttings

Planting Cuttings

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pot-Grown Cuttings

For plants such as rock rose, Russian sage and santolina, plant cuttings in pots of well-drained soil. Trim cuttings to 3 to 4 inches long and plant with the top bud exposed. Protect from frost by placing pots in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse until spring. Plant in fall once rooted.

Plant Cuttings

Plant Cuttings

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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