Growing plant from cutting

how to root plant cuttings in water for propagation

Hello!  Thanks for being here!  Today I’m going to show you how to root plant cuttings in water.  This is a great way of multiplying the plants you have and sharing the plant love with friends.  I will say, it’s kind of hard to give away a plant that you’ve been nursing from its beginning.  But, it’s so rewarding and so cool to get results!  I just gave two Chain of Hearts cuttings away today to super awesome homes.  I can’t wait to check in on their progress.


When I was in my early 20s I worked at a golf course that had a 30 foot Monstera deliciosa. You read that right…30 FEET!  That’s where my love of  plants began.  It’s actually my favorite plant of all time (if you didn’t already know).  Anyway, some of the leaves were 2 feet wide and absolutely beautiful!  One day I saw this tiny leaf pop out of soil and when no one was looking, I brushed the dirt away from the shiny green stem and plucked it right out of there!  I kept looking watch over my shoulders like I was about to pull a bank job or something.   I mean, I guess technically it was stealing.  But I didn’t see it that way.  I was spreading the love!  But let’s make something perfectly clear, IT IS STEALING WHEN YOU DO IT AT A STORE so don’t do that!  I ended up telling my supervisor (it was weighing on my conscience) and he laughed, told me I was silly, and that it was totally fine!  All this to say, I took it home, put it in water, it rooted, and it made me so happy!  I was so in love with this amazing method of reproduction. Let’s talk about How to Root Plant Cuttings in Water.

Most common house plants can be propagated by water method. Right now my new subject is a tiny little stem from my big Fiddle Leaf Fig.  So far no roots but there is a tiny green leaf!!  If you’re not sure, just try it!

Let’s get started


Need a visual? Watch my propagation tips on AM Northwest.


Place your rooting plants in an area with bright indirect light.  You’ll also need patience…serious patience!  If you are trying a new cutting and two weeks go by with no roots, it’s not always bad news.  I know someone who stuck a fiddle leaf fig leaf in water and 3 months later she started to see roots.

When you change out the water, be sure to give the roots a little rinse and a little rub with your fingers.   The roots can get a mucky film (that’s the technical term) and you want to wipe that away before placing them in the new water.

That’s all you have to do!  It’s so simple.  Now you can make your own plants and trade with your friends.  It’s one of my most favorite things to do.  Once you are ready to pot your rooted plant, check out my How to Repot a Houseplant post.  I know you won’t be actually repotting but there are some good tips about potting in general.  Thank you so much for visiting!  See you next time!

Check out my Instagram for daily plant love and inspiration!

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How to Grow Plants From Cuttings

Grow New Plants at Home With This Easy Propagation Method


Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

Learn more about The Spruce's Editorial Process

Updated on 10/25/22

Reviewed by

Kathleen Miller

Reviewed by Kathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and Horticulturist who shares her knowledge of sustainable living, organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia's Farm and Gardens, a working sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column. She has over 30 years of experience in gardening and sustainable farming.

Learn more about The Spruce's Review Board

The Spruce / Jiaqi Zhou

Project Overview

Garden plants can be propagated in many ways, but one of the easiest methods is taking stem cuttings. How to grow plants from cuttings is simple: Trim off a healthy portion of stem, place it in water or a growing medium until it develops roots, and then plant it in a pot or the ground.

Growing plants from cuttings is a common way to create new houseplants, but it can also work for many garden plants. In cold-weather zones, some gardeners take clippings of tender annuals and root them indoors to prepare a supply of new plants for garden planting in the spring.

Here's what to know about how you grow a plant from a stem cutting.

Watch Now: How to Propagate Dipladenia

When to Take Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings can be taken and rooted at almost any time during the parent plant's active growth period. You also can take cuttings from many woody plants (plants with hard stems) during their dormancy. In cold climates, you can take cuttings in the fall before frost arrives, root them indoors, and then transfer them to pots. By springtime, you will have vigorous potted plants that can go back into the garden.

Types of Plants to Grow From Cuttings

Soft-stemmed herbaceous plants are the easiest to grow from cuttings, but many woody plants can also be propagated with this method. The following list includes examples of plants that grow from cuttings.

Before You Begin

The key to successful rooting of stem clippings is to find the moisture and temperature level appropriate for each type of plant. Do some research on the species you are trying to propagate to learn the conditions it likes best. You can make your plant cuttings grow faster not only by providing the conditions they like but also by applying rooting hormone to the cut end, which helps to encourage root production. It's also best to take several clippings to maximize your chances of success.

How long plant cuttings take to root varies widely depending on the type of plant. Many herbaceous annuals will quickly grow to maturity. But cuttings from perennials and woody plants, such as shrubs, can be harder to root and take longer to reach maturity.


It is possible to grow a plant from a cutting in water. Simply place the cut end down in a container partially filled with plain water, and refresh the water every few days until a substantial root system has formed. However, transferring a water-rooted seedling to soil is not always successful, so it's generally better to plant cuttings straight into soil.

Equipment / Tools


The Spruce / Loren Probish

How to Grow Plants From Cuttings

  1. Prepare a Container

    Fill a clean 6-inch-deep container with soilless potting mix to hold cuttings for rooting. A soilless mix drains well and provides suitably moist conditions that encourage the cutting to root. Don't use ordinary garden soil, as it might contain pathogens that can kill the cutting before it ever takes root.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  2. Choose a Parent Plant

    Select a healthy parent plant from which to take cuttings. Avoid plants with diseases or lots of drooping or dying foliage. The best specimens for cuttings will have plenty of new growth and be large enough that taking cuttings will not harm them.


    Good green growth is more important in a parent plant than plentiful flower buds. Too many flowers can actually hinder the ability of a cutting to grow roots.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  3. Find the Best Stems for Cutting

    Choose green, soft (non-woody) stems for cuttings. Newer growth is easier to root than woody, older stems. Look for a stem with a node—a bump along the stem where a leaf or flower bud attaches. This point is where new roots will emerge. 

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  4. Take the Plant Cutting

    Use a pair of scissors or a razor blade that has been sterilized in alcohol to make a clean cut just below a node. The cutting doesn’t need to be long, but it should contain at least two leaves and one node. A cutting that is 4 to 6 inches long is usually sufficient. Longer cuttings sometimes dry out when placed in their growing medium.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  5. Prepare the Cutting

    Place the cutting on a flat, hard surface, and make a clean, partial slice through the middle of the node with a sterilized razor blade. Scarring the node will increase the chances of roots emerging from this spot.

    Then, remove all but one or two leaves on the cutting. The cutting needs some leaf growth to continue photosynthesis, but too many leaves will consume energy that would otherwise go to root creation. If the leaves are very large in proportion to the stem, cut off the top halves of the leaves.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  6. Apply Rooting Hormone (Optional)

    Wet the node end of the cutting, and then dip it in a small container of rooting hormone. Tap off any excess hormone; too much actually hinders chances for success. This step is optional. Some plants root easily on their own, but rooting hormone can help others by stimulating the cutting into sending out new roots.

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

  7. Bore a Planting Hole

    Use a pencil or similar pointed object to poke a planting hole into the potting mix, rather than planting the cutting straight into the soil. Make the hole slightly larger than the stem diameter. Doing so will prevent rooting hormone from being wiped away when you embed the stem in the pot, and it's also gentler on the stem.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  8. Plant the Cutting in the Soil

    Carefully plant the cutting in the hole you made in the potting mix, and gently tamp the soil around it. You can fit several cuttings into one container, but space them so the leaves do not touch one another.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  9. Cover the Pot With Plastic

    Place the container with the cutting into a plastic bag. The bag will keep the humidity high and hold in heat. But don’t seal the bag completely because some airflow is necessary to prevent fungal rot.

    Keep the container in a warm spot in the house, ideally in an area that has indirect bright light. Don’t put the cutting in full sunlight until new leaves begin appearing along the stem.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

  10. Monitor the Cutting

    Until roots form, keep the soil slightly moist but not so wet that condensation forms on the inside of the plastic bag. Check regularly for signs of rot, and remove any suspect cuttings as soon as you spot trouble.

    After two to three weeks, begin checking for roots by tugging gently on the cutting. When you begin to feel resistance, it means roots have developed. At this point, you can transplant the cutting into its own pot or the ground.

    The Spruce / Loren Probish

30 Plants That Grow From Cuttings in Soil

Watch Now: 19 Timelapses Perfect for Plant Lovers

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Plant Propagation. University of Maine Extension.

Deciduous plants - Indoor plants

-> Indoor plants -> Deciduous plants

Each inhabitant of the kingdom of Flora is somehow marked by nature, some plants got the beauty of a flower, others - the beauty of foliage. Ornamental deciduous plants are distinguished precisely by leaves. This is an extensive group of plants, whose fans are countless all over the world. Fascinated by these plants, breeders breed more and more new varieties, reinforcing the originality of the shape and color of the leaves, often even neglecting the beauty of the flowers. As a rule, representatives of this group of plants have very dim flowering, but due to the attractiveness of their foliage, they have high decorative properties all year round, and that is why these indoor plants form the basis of compositions in the phytodesign of any interior.

Among indoor ornamental foliage plants, Anthurium, Coleus, Dieffenbachia, Aglaonema, Monstera, Cordilina, Fatsia, Ivy, Schefflera, Fittonia are absolute favorites.

Indoor foliage plants in original leaf shapes and/or color shades offer an astonishingly rich array of highly attractive and varied accents for a wide variety of interiors, both office and home.

The appearance of the foliage of decorative indoor plants is very diverse and differs in shape, size, leaf outline and texture, not to mention pattern and color. The range is huge - in soleirolia the leaves are just tiny, while in monstera they reach a width of 60 cm; croton leaves are solid with smooth edges, and asparagus is proud of its unusual pinnate foliage. The texture of the sheet itself can also be the most unpredictable: smooth, prickly, matte, shiny, velvety, corrugated, etc. The leaves can be completely green, or they can be variegated, multi-colored, with various veins, and so on.

Among this group of plants you can meet real giants and desperate crumbs, very capricious and completely unpretentious beauties, those who prefer an abundance of light and those who may well be content with a shady habitat. Such a variety of shapes, sizes and shades allows you to realize any design solutions.

Photo: Rita Brilliantova

read the full description


Aglaonema Akalifa air Alocasia amorphophallus Anthurium Araucaria Ardisia Asparagus Aspidistra Aucuba Banana Bakhuzia Begonia Euonymus Bertholonia bemeria Biophytum Brainia hemigraphis Geogenanthus Ginura Hypoestes hoffmania Dionea Dioscorea Dyschidia dieffenbachia dichorisandra Dracaena Drimiopsis Zamiya Isolepis Irezine Ginger Caladium Calathea Kalea callisia Saxifrage Cardamom Karludovik Cypress sour Clusia codiaum coccoloba taro corinocarpus Cordilina Cryptomeria Christia Ktenanta Turmeric laurel Ledeburia Leea Lofomirt Luma arrowroot Mirsina Myrtle Molineria Monolen Monstera Mühlenbeckia Nandina Nepenthes Nerter Sedge Ostyanka Ophiopogon Palisota Pandan Nightshade Pachira Pellionia Peperomia Pepper Capsicum Pisonia Pilea Ivy Pogonaterum Poliscias Pseuderanthemum Radermacher Rhodea Rosemary Roicissus Ruellia cycad Sansevieria Sarracenia Sauromatum Selaginella siderasis Syzygium Syngonium Resin seed Soleirolia Spathiphyllum Strobilant Stromanta Scindapsus Tetrastigma Tradescantia Fatsia Fatsheder ficus Philodendron Fittonia Formium Chlorophytum Homalomena Cyanotis cyperus cissus Scheffler spur flower Eucalyptus Encephalartos Episcia Epipremnum

What to read

see all . .

  • Kalea pinnatifid, or trifoliate flashing - plush liana
  • Homalomena - queen of hearts
  • Venus flytrap - the most unpretentious of carnivorous plants
  • Sarracenia - carnivorous beauty
  • Christia oblique heart - butterfly plant
  • Episcia - fiery violet
  • Bömeria - false nettle
  • Nepenthes at home
  • Callisia is a relative of tradescantia
  • Pandan - screw palm
  • Cryptomeria at room conditions: care, reproduction
  • Colocasia, or taro - a plant for greenhouses
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  • Isolepis drooping - fiber optic grass
  • Pilea: care, reproduction
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  • Dischidia - a hotel for ants
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  • African myrsina - Cape myrtle
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how to grow more plants by cuttings

Why is this method so popular? And because the offspring during cuttings will be an exact copy of the parent, will quickly take root in a new place and will please with endurance in harsh conditions. And most importantly, you will receive a new planting material for free.

Types of cuttings

Cuttings are different. Which option to choose depends on the type of plant.

Green cuttings

In most cases, woody cuttings are used for propagation, but some plants prefer to propagate by young green shoots.

For which species it is suitable: barberry, weigela, hydrangea, deren, viburnum, vesicle, lilac, chaenomeles, mock orange.

How to root. Actively growing young lateral shoots are cut with a sharp knife into segments with 2 to 3 internodes. The lower cut should be oblique at a distance of 0.5 - 1 cm from the kidney. The top cut is straight. It is even more reliable not to cut the cuttings, but to tear them off with the "heel" - the part of the stem from which they depart. Cut off the lower leaves.

Then the cuttings are treated with a root formation stimulator - Kornevin or Heterauxin (1): either the lower part of the shoot is powdered with powder, or the preparation is diluted in water and the cuttings are placed there for 6 hours. Then they are planted in a garden or pot to a depth of 2 cm. 3–5 cm of coarse sand must be poured over the ground: it protects the cuttings from decay.

Stem cuttings

This variant is suitable for herbaceous perennials, which use cuttings for propagation. They are cut until mid-summer.

Suitable for: aquilegia, astilbe, cornflower, gelenium, delphinium, sedum, phlox paniculata.


How to root. The stems are cut into pieces with two internodes. They are dusted with any root formation stimulant and planted in the ground - preferably in a greenhouse. Such cuttings will take root quickly - if, for example, at the end of June you plant cuttings of panicled phlox, then in August you will get young plants with roots - they can already be transplanted into a flower garden.

Semi-lignified cuttings

These are shoots that have begun to bark at the bottom, but the top is still green.

Suitable for: hydrangeas, rhododendrons.

How to root. At the end of June, the tops of semi-lignified shoots of the current year are cut off and cut into cuttings with two internodes. Cut off the lower leaves. Longitudinal incisions 1–2 cm long are made on the bark. The cuttings are powdered with a root formation stimulator and planted in pots in a mixture of peat and sand in equal amounts. After 2 - 3 months roots are formed, and young plants can be transplanted into open ground.

General rules for cuttings

Each type of cuttings has its own characteristics, but there are also general rules that must also be taken into account.

Cut in the morning or on cloudy days. At this time, there is more juice in the cuttings - these take root better.

Cover with bottle. Regardless of where the cuttings are planted - in pots or directly in the garden - they need to arrange a mini-greenhouse. The easiest way is to cover them with a plastic 5-liter bottle without a bottom, or put them in a large jar with a lid (2). Such a shelter will help maintain high humidity around the cutting.

In a few weeks young shoots will emerge from the buds. At the end of summer, they begin to gradually open the bottle so that the seedlings get used to the fresh air, and then the shelter is completely removed.

Spray. One shelter with a bottle is not enough, because it is very hot in summer. Cuttings should be sprayed regularly with warm water. Ideally, daily. It is possible once a week (many people come to the country house for the weekend), but in this case, the soil around the cuttings should be constantly moist. So water them properly.

Protect from the sun. During rooting cuttings should be in partial shade.

Insulate in winter. Rooted cuttings are left to winter where they were planted. And so that they do not freeze, in late October - early November, the soil around them is covered with a thick layer of fallen leaves or covered with several layers of non-woven fabric.

In the spring or autumn of the following year, young plants are transplanted to a permanent place.

Popular questions and answers

We asked the agronomist-breeder Svetlana Mikhailova the typical questions of summer residents about plant cuttings.

Which fruit crops can be propagated by cuttings?

Many varieties of cherries, almost all varieties of cherry plums and some plums propagate well with green cuttings. But cherries and apricots do not give roots on cuttings.

Can apple trees be propagated by cuttings?

In the vast majority of apple varieties, cuttings do not take root. But there are pleasant exceptions. The roots on the cuttings form: Altai ruddy, Gornoaltayskoye, Zhebrovskoye, Zhigulevskoye, Kuznetsovskoye, Moscow red, Pepin saffron, Gift for gardeners, Ranetka purple, Ural bulk, Flashlight.

Is it possible to propagate pear cuttings?

Pears, like apple trees, in most cases cannot be propagated by cuttings.

Learn more