A few weeks ago I took a lone cutting from an Oak Leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). I’ve read where they are difficult to root but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. It was a stem tip cutting with two leaves and a length of about 3 inches. I dipped the cut in in rooting hormone and stuck the cutting in moist sand. I checked the cutting periodically and watched as the cut end began to swell which is where the new roots were beginning to form. Then in six weeks I gently pulled on the little hydrangea and met resistance. I carefully removed the sand from the base of the cutting and found roots! I find that it helps to add enough water to the sand to make the sand soggy make the roots easier to lift. It was a cutting no more, but a new future shrub for the garden.
After discovering the roots I quickly went and potted the new oak leaf hydrangea. I like to plant new cuttings in pots until their root systems develop more significantly. Putting them in pots makes them easier to care for, especially if they are all in one location. You might question the logic of taking cuttings from a plant that seeds easily, but to me it makes sense. First of all I take cuttings of anything I can just to see if it would work. To me part of it is the challenge and part of it is the chance to get another plant to add to the garden. There is a more logical reason: time. It might be spring of 2009 before any seedlings sprout from our hydrangeas but with cuttings I have a plant ready to grow it’s root systems now. I figure that I’m gaining several months of growth. To me that’s not a bad reason to propagate a plant!