What did I do this summer?

What did I do this summer?

I propagated plants! Propagating is a great way to increase your landscape plants cheaply. What could be better than cheap plants? This was the first summer I seriously experimented with rooting cuttings. Some plants can be propagated by division, some by stem and tip cuttings and others by root cuttings. What I did was mostly the stem and tip cutting types. Stem cuttings are pretty much what it sounds like: a section of the plant stem. The tip cutting is just as self explanatory: a section of the stem tip. The stem tips tend to be green wood and contain auxins that help to stimulate growth in the plant. In the past I have toyed with rooting willows and several easy to root house plants. This year I expanded my repertoire. I continued to do some willow cuttings, mostly for a deciduous hedge row to define our border, but I “branched” into some other plants as well. Here is what I found:

  • I found that Euonymous ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is extremely easy to root. The branches of this euonymous actually form aerial roots and may be propagated with nothing more than simple cup of water.
  • I found that butterfly bush tip cuttings root fairly easily in sand by applying rooting hormone to the base of the stem cutting.
  • I found that spirea is also a simple to root plant with rooting hormone. You do have to be careful with damping off as this did happen with a couple of my trials.
  • I also found that I don’t need to buy too many verbenas next year! Once these plants get going they take off. They root very easily and and quickly become a 2′ diameter mound of delicate little blossoms. Verbena often is treated as a tender annual depending on your zone. Both types that I experimented with were successful in rooting.
  • My favorite this year was rooting the dwarf English laurels. I was able to make 4 of these plants easily with rooting hormone in a sand/peat mixture. I plan to make several more cuttings of these!
  • Mums are another one that I found are extremely easy to root using mostly a peat mixture and a little rooting hormone, although I doubt the hormone was a necessity. Asters have worked this way also.

I’m still waiting on a few cuttings that are slower to root like a couple cherry trees, pyracanthus, some purple leaf plums, and a sweet gum but hopefully these will grow as well as the other plants have. Even with the drought conditions in Tennessee this year these plants were successful. Lots of plants can be propagated through cuttings so pick one and experiment!


Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I too started cuttings in earnest this year. Mostly perennials but I was successful with hydrangeas, crepe myrtles and cleyera. All are safely in my garage awaiting spring for planting out. The perennials were: russian sage, mums, helenium, artemesia Powis Castle, turtlehead, sedums and more. It is so rewarding and I agree totally with you more gardeners should try it. Now if I could just get some expensive Japanese maples to root… Next year I may try air layering on them.

  2. The Japanese maples would be a nice plant to get rooting. I got a hydrangea to root but a friendly neighborhood bunny had lunch with it. The Russian sages are great. I have several of them going. I managed to get asters and mums going pretty good. I had a mum I bought that had a broken branch on it (I think I only spent $.50 on the mum anyway)I stuck the branch in the rooting medium and a couple weeks later had a new plant. I have a few others in the garage like pyracanthus, purple leaf plum trees (they seed pretty prolifically so they may be invasive I haven’t checked that one yet), forsythias and a couple hollies.

  3. Good deal! I have the most wonderful mum I would love to share. It is still blooming full force. It starts after the others have pretty much gone by, but then just keeps going. It is yellow and looks like a dandelion in the middle then daisy petals on the outside but it is so tightly packed it is different. Got it as a gift on a master gardener tour here in Clarksville last year. You need one for your garden and I can give you some cuttings.

    I have done asters, but I am unfortunately not blessed with tremendous sunlight. They don’t do as well as I’d like but they are great plants. I saw you have alot of sun. Can be a curse and blessing. Right?

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