Propagating Plants From Stem Cuttings

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Flowering Maple

Free, Free, Free!  After receiving my greenhouse I learned so much about propagating plants and which ones were a success and those that were not, from fuchsias, begonias, hydrangeas and just about any type of branch from trees and shrubs.   The word propagate scares people as they think it’s harder than it actuality is but it’s easier than pulling out your wallet and a lot more satisfaction as you can do this with your children and watch everything grow as they grow.  There are different ways to propagate, from cuttings, separating rhizomes,  clipping a branch and treating with a root hormone and than there are bulbs and tubers that you can divide and place in another location of your yard or have a sharing party with friends.

Below is a more detailed explanation about propagation using root hormone.


There are a lot of cuttings that need no special treatment at all and are usually made from a portion of the stem, from tubers or from roots.  Cuttings are usually rooted in a mixture of either sand, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, expanded clay pellets and even miracle grow.  Some cuttings you will need to use root hormone and dirt, some cuttings can be induced to root in water such as Rosemary, Basil, Green Onions, Avocados, etc.  What ever method you use try to keep your cuttings in partial shade for the first year until the roots are established and the best time to propagate is during autumn.

Bulbs, Tubors & Rhizome’s

You can multiply bulbs and tubors by digging up and separating, carefully.  Rhizomes grown into a tangle mess so carefully dig the grouping up and cut the roots apart using a sharp knife, ensuring that each rhizome has at least one bud or shoot.  This needs to be done every 4 or 5 years in the fall.  To replant all bulbs, tubors, and rhizomes you need to dig a hole and put bone meal in, fill with water.  Once the water has receded place the plant in the hole and back fill with soil, pressing it down firmly around the plant. Try to place your plants at the same depth as before as this effects some plant’s growing habits.

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Perennial should be separated about every 3 years, dividing these plants should be done in the early spring or fall while the temperature is cool enough to ensure minimum damage and warm enough for new roots to form. To separate your perennials dig up your plant and depending on its size cut with a sharp knife into the desired size.  Plant where you want them or exchange or share with friends and family.  Note: if your plant looks like they are being crowded, it’s time to dig up and separated.

Root Hormone

Once you try propagating, the ease and simplicity will have you asking yourself why you have not tried this before.Propagate with water and root hormone

  • Clip 3″ off the plant with sharp clippers at an angle and remove the bottom leaves.
  • Dip stem in water shaking off excess than dip into bottle root hormone
  • Shake excess root hormone off and carefully placing the stem into soil without knocking the hormone off.

To protect your plants if it’s cold and raining place into a terrarium, cold frame, small greenhouse or cut the top off of a gallon water jug and place it over the pot, carefully keeping edges away from plant.  I typically do my propagating during the fall/winter so I have my spring and summer flowers.

Have fun and don’t limit yourself, if it doesn’t work the first time try again the worse thing that can happen is it doesn’t work and you learned a lesson on that specific plant. Just try a new plant.
Happy Gardening~

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