How to Take Semi-Ripe Cuttings

Given the right conditions and care, plants can be rooted from stem cuttings in spring or summer.

Lush Mahonia Shrub

Lush Mahonia Shrub

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

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

These are gathered later in summer when the bases of the stems are firmer. You can pull off side shoots with a little tear or "heel" of stem, and they will root in about ten weeks, or the following spring. This method is used mainly for evergreen shrubs, like boxwood (Buxus), and woody herbs, such as sage (Salvia).

Suitable Plants


flowering maple
artemisia
boxwood
heather
California lilac
Mexican orange blossom
broom
heath
lavender
Oregon grapeholly
rosemary
salvia
sweetbox

Choose a Healthy Stem

Select shoot tips or side shoots that are firm at the base, soft and leafy at the top. Cut just below a leaf joint or gently pull side shoots downward to leave a heel of stem tissue still attached.

Prune Hedge Plants

Prune Hedge Plants

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

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

Prepare the Stem

Use a sharp, sterilized knife to trim off the soft shoot tip just above a leaf joint. Discard this section. Removing the shoot tip helps reduce moisture loss from the cutting.

Tip For Preparing A Boxwood Stem for Propagation

Tip For Preparing A Boxwood Stem for Propagation

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

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

Remove Lower Leaves

Remove the leaves and side shoots from the lower half of the cutting, and trim back any heels at the base that are particularly long. If your cutting has no heel, simulate one by cutting a 1-in. slice from one side of the stem.

Boxwood Propagation

Boxwood Propagation

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

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

Pot Up

Dip the cut ends in hormone rooting powder. Either root in pots of moist cutting soil mix, inserting them up to the base of the lower leaves, or set hardy types, such as boxwood 3 inches apart in sandy soil in a cold frame.

Hardy Boxwood Stems

Hardy Boxwood Stems

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

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

Keep Warm

Place your pots of cuttings in a covered propagator set to 64–70 degrees F, or seal them in clear plastic bags, propped up with sticks to keep the plastic off the leaves. Keep soil moist. Harden off, and plant out once rooted.

Place Cuttings in Plastic to Root

Place Cuttings in Plastic to Root

2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - How to Grow Practically Everything

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

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