How to Propagate Plants by Cuttings: A Step by Step Guide

 How to Propagate Plants by Cuttings: A Step by Step Guide

Propagating plants by cuttings is an exciting technique that allows gardeners to expand their garden using existing plants. It's an economical and effective way to multiply your favorite plants and create healthy copies. In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn how to successfully propagate plants by cuttings, from cutting selection to aftercare. Let's start!

Step 1: Choose the Right Plants and Cuttings

The first step in propagating plants by cuttings is to choose healthy mother plants and select the appropriate cuttings. Here are some tips:

Choose Healthy Plants: Choose mother plants that are free of disease and pests. Healthy plants have a better chance of producing strong, sturdy cuttings.


Young Vigorous Cuttings: Select cuttings that are young, vigorous and free of damage. Generally, cuttings about 10-15 centimeters long are ideal.

Terminal cuttings: Cuttings taken from the tips of branches tend to root more easily than cuttings taken from the middle of the stem.

Step 2: Prepare the Stakes

Once the mother plants and cuttings have been chosen, it is time to prepare them for propagation.

Cutting with Sharp Tools: Use sharp pruning shears or a clean knife to cut the cuttings. Make clean, diagonal cuts to increase the rooting area.

Remove Bottom Leaves: Carefully remove the leaves from the bottom of the cuttings, leaving at least two or three leaves at the top. This reduces water loss and helps with rooting.

Use Rooting Hormone (Optional): Some cuttings may benefit from the application of a rooting hormone, which stimulates root growth. Follow the product's instructions when using it.

Step 3: Plant the Stakes

The next step involves planting the cuttings in a suitable rooting medium.

Rooting Medium: Use a good quality rooting medium such as a mixture of perlite and vermiculite or a specific substrate for cuttings. Make sure the medium is moist but not soggy.

Plant the cuttings: Make a hole in the rooting medium with a pencil or other sharp object and carefully insert the cutting. Press the medium around the stake to keep it steady.

Proper Spacing: Leave enough space between the cuttings for air to circulate freely, which helps prevent the cuttings from rotting.

Step 4: Create an Enabling Environment

Rooting of cuttings is facilitated by a controlled environment.

Clear Cover: Cover the cuttings with a clear cover, such as a plastic bag or a rooting dome, to create a moist environment and retain moisture.

Location with Indirect Light: Place the cuttings in a location with indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can overheat and dry out the cuttings.

Maintain Moisture: Regularly check the humidity of the rooting medium and spray water as needed to keep it moist.


Step 5: Monitor and Wait for Rooting

Patience is key when propagating plants by cuttings. Rooting can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the plant and conditions.

Signs of Rooting: After some time, you will start to see signs of rooting, such as new shoots or resistance to lightly pulling the cutting.

Avoid Disturbing: Avoid disturbing the cuttings during this time, as moving them can damage the growing roots.

Step 6: Transplant the Rooted Cuttings

When your cuttings have successfully rooted, it's time to transplant them to a permanent location.

Prepare the Soil: Prepare the soil at the planting site, ensuring it is well drained and rich in nutrients.

Remove Carefully: Remove the cuttings from the rooting medium carefully so as not to damage the growing roots.

Plant the Cuttings: Dig a hole in the soil and plant the rooted cuttings, maintaining the same level of depth as they were in the rooting medium.

Water Adequately: Water the transplanted cuttings well and continue to monitor them for the first few months to ensure they establish well.

Step 7: Aftercare

After transplanting, continue to care for the new plants, providing them with water, adequate light and, where appropriate, fertilizer.

Consistent Watering: Keep soil evenly moist until plants are established. Then adjust the watering according to the plant's needs.

Adequate Light: Provide enough light but avoid strong direct sunlight until plants are fully adapted.

Fertilization: If necessary, fertilize new plants according to species-specific recommendations.

What is propagation by cuttings?

Cutting propagation is a method of plant reproduction in which a part of the plant, usually a stem or leaf, is cut and rooted to create a new plant identical to the parent plant.

What plants can be propagated by cuttings?

Many plants, such as ivy, succulents, roses, hydrangeas and many herbs, can be successfully propagated by cuttings.

What is the ideal time to propagate plants by cuttings?

The best time for propagation by cuttings depends on the type of plant, but it is usually done in spring or early summer when the plants are actively growing.

How to choose the right cutting to propagate a plant?

Choose a healthy, disease-free cutting with at least a few nodes (nodes are the areas where leaves and stems meet). The optimal length is about 7-15 centimeters.

How to prepare a cutting for propagation?

Cut the stake just below a node with a clean, sharp blade. Remove the leaves that would cover the node and let the cutting dry for a few hours to prevent it from rotting.


What is the best medium for rooting cuttings?

The most common rooting medium is a mixture of perlite and vermiculite or sand. Some plants can also be rooted in water.

How to plant cuttings in rooting medium?

Make a small hole in the rooting medium with a pencil or broom handle and insert the cutting about 2-5 centimeters into the soil. Gently compact the soil around the stake.

How to care for cuttings after planting?

Keep the cuttings in indirect light and keep the rooting medium moist but not soggy. Cover the cuttings with a clear plastic bag or use a mini-greenhouse to create a humid environment.

How long does it take for cuttings to root?

Rooting time varies depending on the type of plant, but it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Monitor progress regularly.

When should I transplant rooted cuttings to their permanent locations?

Transplant the rooted cuttings when they have developed strong enough roots, usually when you can feel resistance pulling them gently from the rooting medium.

Are there plants that cannot be propagated by cuttings?

Some types of plants, such as those propagated by seed alone or by root division, cannot be propagated by cuttings. Research the best propagation techniques for each type of plant.

Do I need special skills to propagate plants by cuttings?

No special skills are needed, but practice and knowledge of the specific needs of the plant you want to propagate can improve your chances of success.


Propagating plants by cuttings is a useful skill that allows you to successfully expand your garden and save money on new plants. With care, patience, and attention to detail, you can create healthy, vibrant copies of your favorite plants. Remember that practice improves your propagation skills, and soon you will be confidently and successfully propagating plants. So get to work and start propagating your plants by cuttings today!

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