Plant Propagation by Cuttings

“Can I propagate new gardenias and other plants from cuttings?”

Now is a great time to try your hand at plant propagation by cuttings. Many woody ornamentals such as gardenias, azaleas, crepe myrtles, camellias and cotoneaster, can be propagated fairly easily by taking cuttings.

There are several advantages to this propagation method. First, genetically speaking, one can be sure that the new plant will be an exact replica of the parent plant from which the cuttings are taken. Secondly, there are numerous ornamental plant species that respond well to this propagation method. A third advantage is the satisfaction that you get, watching the cuttings you took develop into beautiful additions to your landscape.

plant propagation by cuttings

Cut four to six inches of new growth for propagation.

Take cuttings from the last four to six inches of actively growing shoots. Remove the bottom section of leaves, leaving only two or three leaves and the vegetative buds on the tip of the cutting. It is also important to remove any flower buds that may be present, as all stored energy should be devoted to root development. The cut ends can be dipped in a rooting hormone and then stuck in a well-drained potting mix.

To prevent the cuttings from drying out before roots can form, they should be misted on a regular basis. After roots develop, the cuttings can then be planted in larger pots and grown to a larger size. This additional step will greatly improve plant survivability when placed in the landscape.

By Bethany O’Rear, Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.  Contact Bethany at bethany@aces.edu.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities. ACES is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.  Educational programs of ACES serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.

Alabama Extension

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities and answers home-gardeners' questions each week on Birmingham Gardening Today.

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