How to propagate plants by hardwood cuttings

Have you ever dreamed of growing your own plants? How about doing it from little cuttings taken from the plants you have in your garden?
Yes, it is possible! Plants can be easily propagated by cuttings. Well, some are easy, others don’t.

We already covered the secrets of plant propagation from seed. In this guide we are covering a very special way to reproduce plants: Hardwood cuttings.

One of the most easy ways to obtain more plants is cutting little pieces of an established plant and bury them in a lightweight soil.

There are three types of cuttings:

  • Softwood cuttings taken in early summer when the wood is still soft, this technique requires constant mist so the cuttings don’t dry;
  • Semi-hardwood cuttings, taken in the end of summer or early autumn when the stems are turning brown and are not yet full hard;
  • Hardwood cuttings, taken in late autumn and through the winter they are fully harden and cut when the plants are in dormancy.

Not all methods can be applied to all plants, some react better to softwood cuttings while others grow better via the hardwood technique.
The fastest method is the softwood cutting while the slower is the hardwood. But don’t be discouraged as hardwood cuttings method is the easiest.

In the pictures below we are propagating junipers, but we use this method to propagate a lot of different plants. Check the list of plants we usually propagate by hardwood cuttings in the end of this article.

1. Prepare the soil for cuttings

We usually use a mix of 50% coarse sand and 50% of peat moss or generic potting soil. The most important characteristic for the soil is to drain well. Let me repeat, the soil must drain well otherwise the cuttings will rot before they produce roots.

How to propagate plants by hardwood cuttings - propagation guide - soil using one part coarse sand and one part peat moss or potting soil
Soil using one part coarse sand and one part peat moss or potting soil

2. Take the cutting

Take a little branch from a vigorous plant that have grown well in the previous season. Strong and healthy plants usually produces cuttings with better changes of success.
Always use clean and sharp tools. Remove two thirds of leaves from the bottom. Use your fingers as the scar will be good points for root growing. In deciduous plants, remove any lateral buds two thirds from the bottom.

How to propagate plants by hardwood cuttings - propagation guide
Take small cuttings, in this case is from a Juniperus

3. Bury the cuttings

Gently bury the cuttings in the soil. We use individual pots, but you can use any type of container if it has big drainage holes. Water the cuttings gently until the water gets out through the holes and any air pocket is eliminated.

In the picture we can see juniperus cuttings from several different cultivars.

How to propagate plants by hardwood cuttings - propagation guide - burying the cuttings
Burying the cuttings
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