Propagate Leyland Cypress from Cuttings

Leyland Cypress cuttings
How to Propagate Leyland Cypress

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.

An example of a Leyland cypress cutting

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!)

Related Post: Sand Vs Soil as a Rooting Medium in Plant Propagation

Leyland cypress cuttings

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.

Related Posts:
Plant Propagation: The Basics of Cuttings
10 Easy Plants to Propagate for Your Home Garden
Thrifty Gardening Tips: Plant Propagation

15 thoughts on “Propagate Leyland Cypress from Cuttings”

  1. I've seen these trees at a friend's house & they are huge. She planted them for a privacy screen. They sure work. They are a beautiful tree.

  2. Hello,
    I moved into a new home june of 2008 didn’t really plant anything because I was afraid it would be too hot to start anything, I now am more than ready to start on my yard. I have a lot of road frontage and want to plant Leyland Cypresses for privacy. I have a friend who has lots of them and I want to try to root some. So I am going to try this. You did it and did they turn out ok from the seedlings you clipped? Just wondering before I start. Thanks, Betty

  3. Dave, Please tell me why you would choose sand instead of just regular soil to propagate Leyland Cypress. I don’t understand the reference to sand over soil-my family has been growing plants for years, and I never saw anyone use anything else but soil.

  4. Anonymous,

    I”m sorry for the late repsonse. I thought I had already answered your question but I must not have posted it! The cuttings in this post didn’t make it as the gardener failed in his job to keep them moist. I don’t use any kind of mister systems which would be great to have. If you keep them moist they should work out fine!

    Anonymous 2,

    If your family is in the nursery business then they probably use a soilless potting mix like peat and bark mulch. I think that’s what most nurseries do. Soil can contain contaminates and diseases that sterile mixes of sand/peat or vermiculite/peat don’t have. The acid content of the peat usually keeps those things at bay. I use sand mostly as a convenience since we have kids and always have plenty of it around! That being said there are many ways of doing things and as long as the plant is healthy there is no wrong way to do it. The sand works, I’ve had a lot of success with it with perennials, shrubs, and trees but I realize its not the only way you can do things. The key is to use a medium that is sterile, and if the soil has been sterilized then there shouldn’t be a problem there either.

  5. Anonymous 2,

    I forgot to mention that much of what I’ve learned about propagating plants comes from reading Plant Propagation from Alan Toogood and the American Horticultural Society. It is a fantastic resource that mentions different ways to propagate different plants. Some plants they mention soil but most use the vermiculite/peat mix which I substitute sand in place of the vermiculite.

  6. Hi Dave, I'm sorry if this was mentioned previously, but what kind of sand do you use? Play sand used for sandboxes? if so, is there a brand name?
    I would love to try to propagate with sand, but I don't want to buy sand which could be toxic to my little cutting babies. Thanks =)

  7. Bonnie,

    I just use play sand or builders sand, either should do fine. I don't think you'll have to worry about toxicity with them. After your sand has been used once it may begin to develop algae which isn't good and you may need to sterilize it to use it again. A blend of peat and sand may actually prevent the algae due to the acidity of the sand.

  8. ooh good! I have a bag of play sand and peat, just waiting for me to get started…lol Thank you so much for your quick response =)

  9. Dave,

    Thanks for your advice and for sharing your info with us, I have been trying to make cuttings for my Leylandi with no success, having no gardening background and trying to find out info from the many thousands of blogs on google.

    I think this is what im looking for, so i will give it a go.

    Thanks again

  10. Hi , Do you actually leave the cuttings in water until you see roots start and then transplant them ? Sorry but I am not clear on that . Should there be rooting hormone in the water ? Thanks, Cash

    1. Derek,

      These cuttings are in sand but kept moist with the water. It's critical that the cuttings retain moisture so the sand must be damp – not soggy. It also helps to put a humidity tent over the cuttings to keep the leaves from transpiring too much water.

    2. Hiiiiii.. I saw your website and i love your text. and i want to grow myself for my garden… and i cutted leylandii … but i need little help from u.. can u give me some info with photo or movie about Leylendii Cutting and propagating ? and these r my cutting leylandi. and i used 4000 ppm iba hormone. Pls help me and how may days my leylandii cuttings will have root?

    3. The exact time on cuttings can vary but plan on at least 6 weeks before rooting starts. Keep them moist and covered with some kin of humidity dome. A plastic box or bag can work well. I don't have a video on it, probably something I should do sometime! Good luck with your cuttings!

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