Introduction to Plant Propagation
There is something magical about propagating plants from cuttings. Perhaps it is because we learned that plants must grow from seed. Or maybe it is the explosive growth we witness when plants propagated from a stick that benefits from much greater stored energy than a tiny seed. Either way, sticking a cutting in a pot and watching it grow is a fun way to multiply your plants, create gifts, and have something green in your apartment until spring arrives.
There are many plants that will root from dormant hardwood cuttings (prunings taken during the late autumn or winter when the plant is dormant). Some of these include willow, fig, mulberry, forsythia, jostaberry, gooseberry, rose of sharon, poplar, boxwood, blueberry, dogwood, currants, elderberry, weigela, viburnum, spirea, and ninebark.
We have gathered some resources here to show how some dormant cuttings can be propagated.
General Propagation Techniques for Hardwood Cuttings
There are many methods to propagating hardwood cuttings. They can be propagated indoors or outdoors. Some need rooting hormone, some don't. Some are sensitive to drying out or are sensitive to rot or both. Here are some resources that provide a general overview:
- The latest edition of Alan Toogood’s “Propagating Plants” is a comprehensive book on propagating plants by any means, but dedicates a good amount of space specifically to hardwood cuttings.
- The North Carolina Extension Office has a long list and instructions on what plants can be propagated using dormant hardwood cuttings. Propagation for the Home Gardener.
- This Old House on YouTube has a great introduction using several types of plants. How to Propagate Plants from Cuttings.
- Danielle Sherry on the Fine Gardening website shows different methods for propagating hardwood cuttings. 3 Easy Hardwood Cutting Methods.
Propagating Willows, Cottonwoods, and Dogwoods from Hardwood Cuttings
- Iowa State University Extension has a brief description on how to propagate willows in the ground in spring. “How can I propagate willow?”
- Jason at Fraser Valley Rose Farm has many great videos on propagating roses, but also has an excellent one here on propagating willows and dogwoods in pots. "Grow Willow from Cuttings (dogwood too)"
- Casey Hentges from the Oklahoma Gardening Channel discusses several different varieties and talks about rooting willows using water in this video. "Propagating Willows"
Propagating Figs and Mulberries from Hardwood Cuttings
Figs are an extremely popular fruit tree to grow from cuttings. Mulberries are in the same Moracaea family as figs and can be propagated using similar techniques. Both are vigorous growers and fruit on first year wood. Most of the information below refers to figs, but the same techniques can be used to root many kinds of mulberries.
- One Green World Nursery is a well-respected online nursery that sells fully grown plants. Here is a great blog article on how they root cuttings. Rooting Dormant Hardwood Fig Cuttings
- All of JSacadura’s videos on propagating figs are excellent, but this video is a great introduction to a common way of rooting fig cuttings. Rooting Fig Cuttings | A foolproof rooting method
- Mark Travis has put together a great site on mulberries. Here you can find more information on what types of mulberries can and cannot be propagated from hardwood cuttings. Growing Mulberries - Propagating
Propagating Currants and Gooseberries from Hardwood Cuttings
Popular in Europe, the dormant hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries are easy to root. They can be propagated indoors or outdoors.
- This article from GrowVeg is a good starting point for rooting currants. Grow More Soft Fruit By Taking Hardwood Cuttings
- Trevor Newman put together a fantastic overview video of the entire process. "Propagating Ribes with Hardwood Cuttings"
Propagating Spiraea from Hardwood Cuttings
- Janie2Shoes has a good overview on how to take spiraea cuttings and pot them up. “How I Start Spirea Bushes Fom Cuttings In The Spring”
We hope you find these resources helpful and will post more along with additional types of plants in the future. Until then, happy propagating!