Signs of a Rooted Red Twig Dogwood

There is a kind of magic in making cuttings. Watching something as simple and unremarkable as a little twig come to life with roots and branches all of its own can only be fascinating to the gardener. Several weeks ago I planted my Winter Garden with various plants which included three red twig dogwoods (Cornus stolonifera). These little dogwoods were cuttings I made from another dogwood about a year ago. They were small little shrubs, but red twig dogwoods are vigorous growers in the right growing conditions (i.e. full sun and good moisture). Shortly after planting I went out to the garden and inspected it to find that a midnight raid by marauding rabbits had left multiple injuries to the dogwoods. The most irritating thing was that the rabbits didn’t eat any of the dogwoods. They just clipped the tips of several branches and left them behind to die. I thought to myself “if you’re going to dine on my plants at least have the courtesy to finish the meal!” At least that’s what I thought then.

I took the cuttings and treated them with rooting hormone on the off chance that I could make lemons out of lemonade. I suppose in this case it would be trees out of twigs. I kept the cuttings in sand for a couple weeks and just noticed new growth beginning a couple days ago. This is an excellent sign of rooting! The leaves are opening to get nourishment from the sun to generate new roots, stems, and leaves. Most likely the roots have already formed and are actively drinking up the water it needs for the growth process. I won’t chance checking any of the cuttings just yet as only two have leaves showing so far and I don’t want to disturb any roots that may have formed underneath until I am sure that the cuttings have had enough time to root.

You can see in the pictures that the little leaves that are just beginning to emerge.  As the leaves develop and begin to absorb sunlight they will provide the cutting with more energy for growing stronger roots and more leaves.

While there is science behind this magical event it never fails to excite me when I see something new come alive.  If it wasn’t for the rabbits I never would have taken the cuttings of the small red twig dogwoods. They had just better stay away from our tomatoes this spring!

Other Red Twig Dogwood Posts:
Red Twig Dogwoods and Why I Like Them
Making More Red Twig Dogwoods 
Red Twig Dogwood Propagation

9 thoughts on “Signs of a Rooted Red Twig Dogwood”

  1. So sorry for your dogwood destruction but excited to hear that there’s a positive side to the story. Those little rabbits…

    It will be interesting to watch these small cuttings continue to grow!

  2. There’s always loss when you garden – that I learned in the past few months. No matter how hard you try, some are just not meant to be. Those little sprouts in the cuttings are like rays of hopes in total darkness that’d soon kill the darkness to nothing!

  3. Propagating plants can be a lot of fun, and it saves money too. Looks like your dogwoods will do good, hope the rabbits find another meal though!

  4. I can't wait to see them planted out…you'll have enough to make a lovely mass planting. I don't see many rabbits at C&L, but I know as soon as I were to add a vegetable garden they would move here! gail

  5. The bunnies love to munch in my garden but my dogwoods are being munched by the deer. I put a fencing circle around a small one and hopefully, it will make a come back this year…

  6. Hi Dave, it seems like the rabbits did you a favor, NOT! But you did the right thing in starting them anyway. I have never seen anyone have better luck with cuttings than you do! Good luck with your seeds too, it sounds like you are going to have a great diversity of plantings. Hope your amaranthus does well, I am trying that too this year. The seeds have germinated, but that is the easy part. They are under lights now but still so very tiny, how will they ever grow into those giant plants?

  7. Jan,

    I’d like to think on the positive side of this situation! I’ll get a few more of my favorite plants for the garden.


    That’s a very poetic way to put it!


    You said it! Plant propagation is a technique that all gardener’s ought to experiment with.


    They do grow pretty fast!


    Would you like a couple rabbits? I could trap them and bring them to you, just say the word! 😉


    I found that the deer really don’t like cayenne pepper! I sprayed water that had cayenne peppers steeping for a couple days. The deer stopped eating those plants after that.


    There are all kinds of things you can propagate at home. Do what I do experiment and see what works!


    You’re getting an early start! I hope to get a few seeds started soon. I’ve got a small room with a grow light that should work for a bit. They’ll grow quick enough into those summer plants. We won’t realize how quick it really happens but before you know it they will be full grown. Kind of like kids!

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