Plant propagation can continue at almost every time of the year, the winter is no exception. This is especially true if you have a little space in your house to put your cuttings or can manage to manipulate them into interesting centerpieces! In this post you will see how to propagate Leyland cypress from cuttings.
A Brief Bit About Leyland Cypress
Leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a common evergreen planting due to its fast growth and economic pricing. It’s a hybrid of the Montery Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and the Alaskan Cypress (Cupressus nootkatensis).
Leyland cypress is mostly planted as a privacy screen but could be used as a evergreen focal point. Some people choose to limb up the branches to make the trunk more visible. They aren’t as highly recommended as Arborvitae due to occaissional ailments. Frequently Leylands are planted too close together into poorly drained soil which can cause cankers and eventual dieback of branches.
Other than that they are very attractive and relatively disease free landscape plants! For more on Leyland Cypress ailments including Seiridium canker, Botryosphaeria canker, and root rot diseases please visit this University of Georgia publication.
Propagating Leyland Cypress from Cuttings
Last week I took 5 cuttings from several different Leyland cypresses shrubs. Leyland cypress does not produce viable seeds which means that cuttings are best method of propagation. I gathered 6-8 inch long semi-ripe stem-tip cuttings from branches that were mostly upright. Keep in mind some evergreens take on the characteristics of the direction they are pointing so upright cuttings are important for an upright speciman.
Step 1: Take the cuttings
The picture below is an example of the type of cuttings I took. The cuttings are nice and green with no brown spots and no visible signs of disease. The stems have hardened off somewhat toward the base and is still green at the top.
Step 2: Prepare the cypress cuttings
After I collected the Leyland cypress cuttings I stripped the lower 3-4 inches of all leaves. This area will be underneath the rooting medium (in this case sand). I made a small half inch cut into the bottom of each cutting to help them take up water.
Step 3: Stick the cuttings in your rooting medium
Then I put the cuttings into a nice pot and watered. Hopefully in 6-8 weeks I’ll see some signs of rooting and I’ll transplant them into pots with potting soil. All that is left to make them presentable for the Christmas season is to add a merry red ribbon around the pot! (I didn’t actually do that!)
One last minute tip for propagating Leyland cypress from cuttings: Keep a high level of humidity around your cuttings. Water loss is the primary cause of failure with cuttings. Mist systems or even a simple plastic bag tented over your cuttings can improve your chances of success when rooting cuttings of many types.