Yew Propagation (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’)

Just recently I checked some cuttings of Densiformis Yew (Taxus x media; also Taxus cuspidata) and found roots! Densiformis Yew is also known as a spreading yew and is a common evergreen shrub in landscape plantings. It makes an attractive foundation planting with its dark green needles. If you have animals fond of chewing on plants avoid planting yews since they are very poisonous.

rooting yew from cuttings
Check out those roots!

How to Propagate Yew

Several weeks ago I took five greenwood cuttings from the yews in the front sidewalk bed. I bought the yews in our first year here from the discount rack for $2 a piece. They had some browning branches at the time but a little trimming was all that was needed to correct that. Since then they’ve grown fairly rapidly providing me with plenty of good branches for propagating.

I took greenwood cuttings about 5-6 inches long and treated them with rooting hormone and placed them in a small container of sand. I watered them and waited. And waited. And waited. I checked them a couple times. Then I waited. And waited. And finally after several weeks of waiting (it really is the hardest part of propagating) I examined the base of the yews and found the roots you see in the picture.

Four of the cuttings had rooted but the fifth was showing no signs of rooting. I decided I would go ahead and pot them all up together for the time being and see what happened. If they all end up rooting, like I hope they will, I’ll have 10 yews that I spent a total of $10. How’s that for cheap gardening!

Growing Yew from Cuttings

If you are interested in learning about propagating more plants from your garden please visit this page: Propagating Plants for Your Home Landscape. It has links to many of the different plants and posts on propagation I have done over the years.

16 thoughts on “Yew Propagation (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’)”

  1. Gee Dave, you are really talented with propagation. Some nursery grower would be lucky to have you on board. Or maybe open your own?

  2. Dave, you are indeed patient. I’ve never been able to do propagation because I’m not patient enough!

    As for yews being poisonous, too bad the deer are immune. They love yews and have stripped my neighbor’s tall ones (that were providing screening between us and him). Darn beasts! They better stay on that side of the line, because if they munch on my little pyramidal yews (bought at high cost), I’m pulling out the artillery, city ordinance or no!

    Do you think I could propagate my pyramidal yews?

    1. The trick to sucessfull propagation is just too take soo many cuttings from as many things as you can and by the time spring gets here with better weather, it will be time to pot them up! before you have a chance to think about the fact that it has taken many weeks to root . most of them root with time and hormone powder.

  3. Tina,

    Know anybody hiring? 😉 Maybe someday!


    It’s very tempting to pull the cuttings to look at the roots. I constantly have to resist the temptation.


    I’m sure you could propagate them. Some evergreens maintain a shape based off the direction of a cutting. Cuttings taken from the side might not grow upright. I don’t know if yews are in this category of evergreens but it would be worth it to take cuttings from upright branches just in case. Deer seem to eat nearly everything!

    Thanks Cameron 🙂


    I’m always looking for cheap plants!


    I can send you one if you want it once they’ve developed a few more roots.


    Thanks! Now if I can just get them to grow fast!

  4. Great news about yews!! Why did you decide on just sand for medium versus mix of peat, sand, and vermiculite? Have some in medium for about six weeks-afraid to check. Will now that I hear of your news? What about seed? Do your yews have the double looking seed things? one section green and one purple with seed now?

  5. ABH,

    Sand is my default mixture and while it may not be practical for nurseries because of its weight it works fine for me. The other mix you mention is fine but sand is cheaper than vermiculite. I use a mix of sand and peat from time to time, just not very consistently. Really if sand works by itself then there is no reason to bother with peat. Peat does help things maintain moisture better. I've not tried yews from see yet. Ours haven't produced any! But you made me curious, maybe I should go look?

  6. You can also use fine river gravel as a rooting medium. I use a seive that is 1/4-1/8 to get rid of the bigger gravel. I root yews and junipers for bonsai tree stock and some I just let grow and will sell for landscaping use. Propagator

  7. Just to let everyone know, if you cut a yew, Pacific or English, you can sell a 6 foot stave for more than 100 dollars to bow makers. They make excellent longbows.

  8. I see you are in Tenn. with mild winters. When you do fall hardwood cuttings are you leaving them outside in sand? I am in MN so severe winters with frozen ground. Could I stick them in sand and keep them inside like in a garage heated to just above freezing? I want to do a lot of red twig dogwood and yews to eventually use at property purchased way N. at the Canadian border.

    1. Our winters are fairly mild – this one especially. I've used the garage before for cuttings and a shed and they have worked fine. If you can provide a little bottom heat like with a propagation mat they will do great. Otherwise they should work fine. I suspect that red twig dogwoods may do fine outdoors heeled in the ground. I would try a few with both methods and see which works best.

  9. hello. glad to meet ya! im very passionate about yew trees. im trying right now to grow some yew cuttings-about seven cuttings- i hope i will be successfull with some of them although i havent used any hormone. thanks a lot i love your channel i subscribed to it! keep up the good work. see ya.sorry for my english!

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