How to Root Plant Clippings

I have a bush in our yard that is a pure delight to me.

It has the distinguished honor of being the first flowering plant in our landscaping after a long winter. In the winter, it has pretty dark shiny evergreen foilage. When these little white blossoms open, they produce the most heavenly lemon smell.

My angelic plant is a Daphne bush (maybe the star white variety ) and it seems to like the shaded spot it holds under the protective canopy of oaks over it. If there was ever a plant I want more of, this is it. So, I decided to try to root some clippings this year using rooting hormone.

Instructions: Wait for the flowers to bloom and fall off.

Once the bush starts to sprout out little kelly green shoots, clip off 12-20 of those new shoots.

Clip just below two leaves and immediately put the clippings in a cup of water so they won’t dry out.

Set up a seedling tray full of a compost and/or potting soil mixture.

Use a pencil to poke a large hole in the middle of each box. The hole has to be big enough for the clipping to be inserted without the stem touching the dirt.

Select a clipping out of the water and shake any excess water off, but do not dry. Strip any leaves off the stem where it will be inserted below the dirt.

Dip the clipping into the rooting hormone powder up to where the dirt level will stop. Shake any excess back into the bottle.

Carefully insert the clipping into the hole you made in the dirt (you want to avoid disturbing the powder.) Gently press dirt back around the clipping.

After all the clippings have been planted, water the soil until it is moist, but don’t drown your clippings.

Set your clippings in a sunny window that will receive a few hours of sun daily. Or you can set your tray in a protected (partially shaded spot) in your yard if the last frost has passed. Water frequently to keep the soil moist, but do not over-saturate your clippings.

Within a few weeks the clipping should sprout roots and continued to shoot up. After they are maturing well, you should be able to transplant them to their new location. Continue to water and protect them from frost for a month or so.

From the research I have done, Daphnes are very picky about their home. Well drained soil is a must. And protection from the elements is preferred (which explains why they like living on the rise in our yard below the bigger trees.)

So, what plant do you want to root? Do you have any “perfect” bushes that you wish you had more of? Do tell, I want to fill in some holes in our landscaping.

Side note: You can try to root almost any plant or shrub. Some clippings will self root. You can try cutting them and putting them in a vase with water in it in your sunny window. Watch the clippings for signs of roots after a week or more. Vinca and ivy usually self roots for me. But, the daphne never has.

Happy planting!

Linking up to Centsational Girl’s Garden Party


  1. Thanks for the tutorial! I can’t wait to try this!!!! Oh the possibilities!!! :)

  2. I’m rooting Hydrangea right now! This is one of my favorite ways to get new plants for free/cheap!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I am hoping to get some clippings from my neighbors… FREE PLANTS WOO!

    • Ha! I was thinking the same thing, from the neighbors (there’s a lovely Japanese maple around the corner!) and some hydrangeas from our garden. Probably get out of control, really fast, but a almost free garden! Yeah!

  4. stephy Buhler says:

    You can also get roses this way! (just ask the owner first!)

  5. This is very exciting for me to see! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for the great instructions. I will definately try it!

  7. katherine says:

    To prevent the spread of disease it is a good idea not to dip your cuttings dirrectly into the rooting hormone, but to put some of the hormone in a separate container before using it.

  8. Please help!! I am trying to root a clipping from a bottle brush bush (I don’t know the real name) and not sure how to go about it…2 or 3 have already been lost. Help!! And also, how do I root an English Ivy? All my other house plants are easy, but I’ve lost a few of them also!

    • Ah Karen, I wish I had an answer for you. Sadly I followed all the directions above and only one of my clippings survived. English Ivy should be a breeze. Simply cut it and leave the ends in water. Or if you want, add the root hormone and stick it in soil. Some plants are harder to propagate than others.

  9. doggone good info will try this on my daphne odora when she shoots new grouth. been trying to root this for 5 yrs other ways with no luck but this will be the winner in my book for rooting and shrub. thanks for sharring.

  10. Honey works if you don’t have rooting hormone.

  11. Are there any plants, or does the rotting hormone come with a list of plants that this will NOT work with?

  12. What is the little purple climbing flower that is in the first photo with your Daphne? We have just bought a house and those vines/flowers are RAMPANT all the way around the perimeter of my house! I have been trying to figure out what it is so I can look up how to care for it. :)

  13. I have Forsythia, Bridal Wreath bush. and Korean Spice bush that I want to try this with. The scent of the Spice bush is absolutely heavenly. Pink flowers early in the season. Plant it under a window you can open and your home will smell wonderful!

  14. This is a great method of rooting cuttings. I’ve found that with some finicky plants and trees that they don’t sprout roots with root hormone after planting. I found that after applying the rooting hormone that wrapping the base in spagnum moss and then planting has been the most consistent method to forming roots. Just a tip, hope it helps!

  15. M D Williams says:

    I have tried this several times with geraniums with NO success! I was able to get a few cuttings to root with no hormone help, but usually they just rot from too much moisture. I thought I might try again (soon) when the plants are growing a bit more vigorously. I live in zone 5, so bring the geraniums in the house and let them go dormant, but they are still green and growing a little.

  16. I want to clone Salal and also Siberian peashrub. Any tips on those? Thanks.

  17. So cool! I love regrowing kitchen scraps. I will have to try this with ALL of my favorite plants outside. It is totally fun and addicting. =) Thanks for excellent tutorial. I want to try this with my fruit trees.

  18. hi there,
    Would you know how to root Peony’s? I just love them and they are so expensive! Thank you for sharing this bit of information too…. I will for sure try it. Maybe do the same thing with the Peony?
    Thanks, Debbie

  19. I would love to share clipping with you. I thought it would be neat to share plants and shrubs with a group and update each other on their growth. Thanks for sharing.

  20. I am so interesting with that work and I like !

  21. I would like to propagate my gardenias. They are large size in pots and on my 3 rd year with them. I live in zone 9, can you help? Where to cut and how to process the cuttings?


  1. […] waking minute pruning that plant) — or to save even more money, ask a neighbor if you can root a few clippings from their […]

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