How to Properly Take Plant Cuttings for Ultimate Cloning Success

Taking plant cuttings is a popular and effective method for cloning plants. This method allows gardeners to replicate a favored plant by encouraging a cutting to grow into a new plant. Rooting powder can enhance this process by stimulating root growth. Here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to take plant cuttings properly, use rooting powder, and care for them until they are ready to be planted. Be sure to research rooting times for your plant variety before getting started so you know what to expect.

Tools and Materials

  • A healthy parent plant
  • Clean bypass sheers or razor blade
  • Hormex Rooting powder (find your strength here)
  • Hormex Rooting Cubes or Small pots or trays filled with a suitable growing medium (e.g., peat moss, perlite, vermiculite)
  • Plastic dome cover or plastic bag
  • Spray bottle

Step 1: Select and Prepare Your Cutting

  • Choose a Healthy Parent Plant: The success of your cuttings starts with the health of the parent plant. Select one that is vigorous and disease-free.
  • Identify the Type of Cutting: Depending on the plant, you can take tip cuttings, stem cuttings, or leaf cuttings. Tip cuttings include the growing tip and about 2-6 inches of the stem.
  • Make the Cut: Using clean sharp bypass shears, razor blade or similar (if the shears or blade are not clean you risk contamination), make a clean cut at 45 degrees just below a node (the point where leaves emerge). For stem cuttings, choose a segment with at least two nodes for best results.
  • Prepare the Cutting: Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting to prevent rot and reduce moisture loss. If taking large leaf cuttings, you can cut the leaf into sections, ensuring each piece has a part of the main vein. Place cuttings in a shallow cup of clean water until ready to place in grow medium. Do not let the cuttings dry out and plant them as soon as possible. Typically right away or within 24 hours.

Step 2: Apply Rooting Powder

  • Dip the Cutting: Moisten the cut end of the cutting, then dip it into the Hormex Rooting Powder. Tap off any excess powder gently.
  • Plant the Cutting: Make a small hole in the moist growing medium to avoid wiping off the rooting powder. Insert the cutting about 1-2 inches deep, ensuring at least one node is below the surface. Pat the medium around the cutting to hold it in place if you are not using rooting cubes.

Step 3: Create a Humid Environment

  • Cover the Cuttings: To maintain high humidity, cover the pot or tray with a plastic bag or plastic dome cover. Ensure the plastic does not touch the leaves by adding sticks or wires to support the plastic if necessary.
  • Place in Indirect Light: Keep the cuttings in a warm place with indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can overheat and damage the cuttings.

Step 4: Care for the Cuttings

  • Watering: Keep the growing medium moist but not waterlogged. Use a spray bottle to mist the cuttings, or water carefully without disturbing them.
  • Ventilation: Remove the cover daily for a few minutes to allow fresh air to circulate and prevent mold growth.
  • Rooting Check: After a few weeks (this varies by variety), gently tug on the cuttings. Resistance indicates root growth. This process can take anywhere from a week to several months, depending on the plant species. 

Step 5: Transplanting

  • Ready for Pots: Once the cuttings have developed a good root system, they can be gently removed and transplanted into individual pots with potting soil. Continue to keep them in a somewhat protected environment until they are strong enough to handle more direct light and less humidity.
  • Gradual Acclimatization: Gradually acclimate the new plants to outdoor conditions if they are to be moved outside. This process, known as hardening off, involves exposing the plants to outdoor conditions for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the time over a week or two.

Remember, patience and attention are key to successfully cloning plants through cuttings. Each plant species may have specific requirements, so it's beneficial to research the particular needs of the plant you're working with prior to getting started.