How to Make More Plants from Cuttings

Herb Cuttings
Herb Cuttings

It's easy to Make more Plants

Expanding your plant inventory by taking cuttings is easy and inexpensive to do. While I am not an expert by any means, this article outlines the steps I took to make more herb plants and start new plants from a Mock Orange Bush.

Herbaceous cuttings are the easiest to do, these are plants with soft stems, vs. bushes or shrubbery that have harder woody stems.

Start by taking small cuttings from healthy plants. In this example I have used Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Lavender and Basil. Of these, only the Basil is an annual plant. Which means that each cutting, I hope, will grow into a nice perennial herb for me to keep or trade.

For the herb cuttings, I put them in small paper pots. These pots are great because, once the cutting has roots, you can just plant the whole pot into the soil. The newspaper will decompose. This way, you don't have to disturb the new, tender roots at all.

Paper Plant Pots

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Paper pot makerWrap with NewspaperFold in the edgesPress to secureMake a Paper Plant Pot
Paper pot maker
Paper pot maker
Wrap with Newspaper
Wrap with Newspaper
Fold in the edges
Fold in the edges
Press to secure
Press to secure
Make a Paper Plant Pot
Make a Paper Plant Pot

If possible, take a cutting that includes a couple of lower leaves. You will remove them, and only leave on the top leaves, but being able to dip that part of the stem in rooting hormone works well because the plant will easily put out roots from the old leaf node.

Fill the paper pots with potting soil and poke a hole in each to receive the cutting once it's dipped.

Dip each cutting in rooting hormone and then pop it into a hole you've prepared in the potting soil.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Paper Pots filled with Homemade Organic Potting  SoilRootone Rooting HormoneCutting dipped in Rooting HormoneCuttings ready to root.
Paper Pots filled with Homemade Organic Potting  Soil
Paper Pots filled with Homemade Organic Potting Soil
Rootone Rooting Hormone
Rootone Rooting Hormone
Cutting dipped in Rooting Hormone
Cutting dipped in Rooting Hormone
Cuttings ready to root.
Cuttings ready to root.
Cuttings covered with plastic bags
Cuttings covered with plastic bags

Water the cuttings well and cover them with some plastic to keep the humidity high so they don't dry out.

It will take about 2-3 weeks for the new cuttings to have roots. Keep them watered and under cover most of the time to keep them moist. I take the covers off now and again to make sure they're not staying too wet under there.

You can check to see if roots have begun my giving the stem a VERY gentle tug. Resistance = Roots.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Take a softwood cutting (green stem)Plant Cutting with Lower Leaves intactPlant Cutting with Lower Leaves RemovedPlant Cutting dipped in Rooting HormoneCuttings in Pots
Take a softwood cutting (green stem)
Take a softwood cutting (green stem)
Plant Cutting with Lower Leaves intact
Plant Cutting with Lower Leaves intact
Plant Cutting with Lower Leaves Removed
Plant Cutting with Lower Leaves Removed
Plant Cutting dipped in Rooting Hormone
Plant Cutting dipped in Rooting Hormone
Cuttings in Pots
Cuttings in Pots

Softwood Cuttings

The next kind of cutting we'll do is called a soft-wood cutting. These are cuttings taken from bushy plants (mine is a Mock Orange bush) that have woody stems, except in the Spring and Early Summer when new growth has started.

Take the cuttings from the tips of the new growth, where the stems are still soft and green and not yet hardened.

Follow the same procedure as with the herbs.

  • Fill plant pots with organic potting soil
  • Make holes in soil ready to receive the cuttings
  • Remove the lower leaves of plant cutting
  • Dip the cutting in Rooting Hormone
  • Put the cuttings into the prepared hole
  • Water the cuttings and cover with plastic to keep the humidity up

I just used translucent grocery bags to cover the cuttings.
I just used translucent grocery bags to cover the cuttings.

I expect that softwood cuttings will take longer than herbaceous cuttings to grow roots, so my expectation is that these will take 4-6 weeks before they are ready to be transplanted.

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Comments 3 comments

queerlyobscure profile image

queerlyobscure 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

Dad and I used to take loads of cuttings from around the garden. We've kind of run out of room to plant anything new now, though. Have you ever tried making the pots out of of toilet roll tubes? You can cut them in half and just fold the ends down. Saves throwing them out!


AskJoanne profile image

AskJoanne 3 years ago from USA Author

Great idea on the toilet roll tubes!


Nancy Owens profile image

Nancy Owens 3 years ago from USA

Lots of useful information here! I like the pictures, too.

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