Propagating Shrubs

Step-by-step instructions for propagating gardenias, hibiscus and azaleas.

If you have a flowering shrub and would like another just like it, propagate a cutting from the plant to create a duplicate version. Host Jamie McMurray demonstrates the different methods of shrub propagation:

To propagate a gardenia:

1. Take a cutting from the shrub, choosing a stem that is neither new or old growth but a semi-hardwood cutting from the midsection of a stem.

2. Using sterile, sharp shears, cut just above a leaf axil. Note: A quick way to sterilize your cutting shears is to dip the blades in rubbing alcohol.

3. Remove the leaves along the base of the stem.

4. Make a diagonal cut at the base of the stem.

5. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone.

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6. Make a small hole in the potting soil, and plant the cutting. Remember to use a soil that drains well.

7. Gently tamp the soil around the stem, and water thoroughly.

8. To create a humid environment for the plant, stake toothpicks, chopsticks, or even pencils around the base of the plant and place a piece of plastic over the top.

To propagate an azalea:

1. Find a hardwood stem, and use a sterilized, sharp knife to cut an inverted "V"-shape along the underside of the stem.

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2. Place a tray of moist soil beneath the stem, and place the cut edge on top of the soil.

3. Place a brick on top of the stem to hold it in place.

4. Over the following several weeks, the cut area will form roots. Once it has taken root, you can cut it away from the original plant.

To propagate a hibiscus:

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1. Use a sterilized knife to make a shallow cut just below where a side branch joins the main stem.

2. Pull the side branch down, tearing it off. The branch won't tear below where you've incised the main stem.

3. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone, and plant in a container of soil.

Note: If you're not sure of the technique to use for a particular type of flowering shrub, check with your local nursery.

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