Summertime and the Propagation Is Easy!

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
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Azalea bloom

Mid-summer is a good time to take cuttings in order to increase the number of some of your favorite landscape plants. Abelia, azaleas, blueberries, forsythias, and hollies can be propagated by cuttings. Take 4 to 6” long cuttings from the tips of vigorous shoots of the plant you want to reproduce. These cuttings should include some stem wood that is partially matured, but not yet old and woody – this is called a semi-hardwood cutting. Take a few more cuttings than you actually desire, in order to allow for the loss of a few. Ideally, collect your cuttings early in the morning or a day or two after a good rain so the stem tip is turgid and filled with moisture.

Use a well-aerated rooting medium. Moisten the rooting medium and gently firm a minimum of 4” into a container that has drainage holes. Pull or trim the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting and stick about one-half of its length into the medium. For azalea and blueberry, you may want to dip the cut end into a rooting hormone to facilitate root formation. Most garden centers have rooting hormone on their shelf. Forsythia will usually root fine without using a rooting hormone. Keep the medium moist and within a few weeks, roots should begin to form.

Many other plants in your landscape can be propagated using cuttings. For more information on propagating plants from stem, cuttings conduct an internet search using the keywords – NC State University plant propagation stem cuttings.

Propagating your own plants can be fun, save you money, and provide plants that you can share with family and fellow gardeners.