How To Plant Clippings [ Full Guide ]

Planting clippings is a budget-friendly and sustainable way to grow new plants from existing ones. This propagation method allows you to create new greenery without having to invest in seeds or seedlings. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, learning how to plant clippings can be a rewarding and exciting experience. This guide will take you through the process of preparing, handling, and planting clippings to ensure successful growth and propagation.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Clippings

Planting clippings involves a few key steps:

  1. Preparing for Planting: Gather all necessary materials and tools.
  2. Choosing the Right Clippings: Select healthy and vigorous clippings from the parent plant.
  3. Proper Handling of Clippings: Ensure the clippings are handled with care to maintain their health and vitality.
  4. Selecting the Right Location: Choose an appropriate environment for the clippings to grow.

To successfully propagate clippings, these steps need to be carefully followed. Read on to explore each step in detail and learn how to carry out the process effectively.

Preparing For Planting

Before you start planting clippings, it’s crucial to gather all the necessary materials and prepare the planting area. Here’s how to get ready for the propagation process:

Gather Materials And Tools

  1. Pruning Shears or Scissors: Sharp cutting tools are essential for taking clean and precise clippings from the parent plant.
  2. Rooting Hormone (Optional): While not necessary, a rooting hormone can promote faster root development in some plant species.
  3. Containers: Small pots or containers with drainage holes are ideal for planting the clippings.
  4. Potting Mix: Select a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix suitable for the plant species you are propagating.
  5. Misting Bottle: A misting bottle filled with water can help keep the clippings hydrated during the initial stages of rooting.
  6. Transparent Plastic Bags or Domes (Optional): These can create a mini greenhouse environment, promoting humidity and moisture around the clippings.

Prepare The Planting Area

Choose a well-lit and warm area for planting the clippings. Ensure that the location has good air circulation and minimal drafts to provide an ideal environment for the clippings to root and grow. Clean and prepare the containers by washing them with mild soap and water to remove any potential pathogens that could harm the clippings.

Choosing The Right Clippings

Selecting the right clippings is essential for successful propagation. Healthy and vigorous clippings have a higher chance of developing into thriving plants. Consider the following factors when choosing clippings:

Health And Vigor

Opt for clippings from healthy and disease-free parts of the parent plant. Avoid using clippings from weak or diseased plant material, as they may struggle to root and propagate successfully.

Age And Growth Stage

Choose clippings that are neither too young nor too old. Young growth may lack the necessary energy reserves for rooting, while overly mature clippings may be less receptive to propagation.

Node Placement

Identify nodes, which are the points on the stem where leaves and buds emerge. Clippings should ideally have at least one or two nodes, as these areas are crucial for root development.


Clippings should typically be around 4 to 6 inches in length, allowing for sufficient surface area for rooting while still being manageable for planting.

Proper Handling Of Clippings

Once you’ve selected the clippings, it’s vital to handle them properly to ensure their health and viability for rooting. Take these steps to handle the clippings with care:

Clean Cuts

Use sharp pruning shears or scissors to make clean cuts when taking the clippings. Dull or jagged cuts can damage the plant tissue, potentially hindering successful rooting.

Remove Excess Leaves

Trim off any excess leaves from the lower portion of the clippings. Leaving only a few leaves near the top of the cutting reduces water loss and directs the plant’s energy towards root development.

Application Of Rooting Hormone (Optional)

If you choose to use rooting hormone, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Dip the cut end of the clipping into the rooting hormone to encourage faster and more robust root development.

Avoid Crushing Or Damaging The Cut Ends

Handle the clippings gently to prevent any damage to the freshly cut ends. Even minor injuries can impede the rooting process, so it’s crucial to treat the clippings delicately.

Selecting The Right Location

Choosing an optimal location for planting the clippings is pivotal for their successful growth. Consider the following factors when selecting a location:

Light Conditions

Most clippings require bright, indirect light to root and grow. Choose a spot that receives sufficient natural light without exposing the clippings to direct sunlight, which can be too intense and potentially harm the tender clippings.

Temperature And Humidity

Maintain a consistent temperature around the clippings, aiming for a warm and moderately humid environment. Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations, as they can stress the clippings and impede their ability to root.

Air Circulation

Ensure the area has good air circulation without strong drafts. Proper ventilation reduces the risk of fungal diseases and helps the clippings receive the fresh air they need to thrive.

Protection From Pests And Pets

Place the containers in a location that is out of reach of pets and protected from pests. Inquisitive pets and pests can damage the fragile clippings and disrupt the rooting process.

Planting clippings is an accessible and rewarding way to grow new plants from existing ones. By carefully preparing for planting, selecting the right clippings, handling them with care, and choosing an appropriate location, you can increase the likelihood of successful propagation. Whether you’re cultivating indoor houseplants, propagating herbs for your kitchen garden, or expanding your outdoor landscape, mastering the art of planting clippings opens up a world of possibilities for expanding your greenery with minimal cost and effort. Embrace the process of nurturing and watching your clippings grow into flourishing plants, and enjoy the satisfaction of creating new life from existing greenery.

Preparing The Soil

Planting clippings is a fantastic way to propagate and expand your garden without having to spend a lot of money on new plants. It allows you to utilize parts of existing plants, such as stems or leaves, and grow new ones from them. This method can be used for various types of plants, including herbs, vegetables, and flowers. By following some simple steps, you can successfully plant clippings and enjoy the rewards of a flourishing garden.

RELATED  How To Plant Succulent Seed [ Full Guide ]

Before you begin planting clippings, it is vital to prepare the soil properly. The quality of the soil plays a significant role in determining the success of your plantings. Here are some steps you can follow to prepare the soil:

  1. Remove weeds: Begin by removing any weeds or unwanted plants from the area where you plan to plant your clippings. Weeds can compete with the new plants for resources and hinder their growth.

  2. Loosen the soil: Use a garden fork or a tiller to loosen the soil. This will improve its structure and allow better air circulation and water drainage. Loosening the soil also helps the roots of the new plants to penetrate the soil more easily.

  3. Amend the soil: Depending on the type of plants you are planning to grow, you may need to amend the soil with organic matter or fertilizers. For example, if you are planting herbs, adding compost or well-rotted manure will provide the necessary nutrients. Conduct a soil test if needed to determine the pH level and nutrient content of the soil.

  4. Level the soil: After amending the soil, level it using a garden rake. This will create a smooth surface for planting, ensuring even growth of the propagated clippings.

Planting Techniques

Once your soil is prepared, you are ready to start planting the clippings. The specific planting technique may vary depending on the type of plant you are propagating. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow:

Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are commonly used for propagating woody plants and some herbaceous perennials. Follow these steps when planting stem cuttings:

  1. Prepare the cuttings: Take a healthy stem from the parent plant, around 4-6 inches long. Ensure that it has at least two sets of leaves. Remove any lower leaves from the bottom part of the stem, leaving only the top leaves.

  2. Dip in rooting hormone: To promote root development, you can dip the bottom end of the cutting in a rooting hormone. This aids in faster and more successful root formation.

  3. Plant in a rooting medium: Use a well-draining rooting medium such as a mixture of perlite and peat moss. Make a small hole in the rooting medium with a pencil or your finger and gently insert the cutting, covering the lower part with the medium.

  4. Provide humidity: Cover the container with a plastic bag or use a propagating tray with a dome to create a humid environment around the cutting. This helps to prevent excessive moisture loss from the cutting and aids in root formation.

  5. Place in a suitable location: Find a spot with bright, indirect light for the cuttings. Avoid direct sunlight, as it could potentially damage the delicate cutting. Monitor the moisture level in the rooting medium and ensure it remains consistently moist.

  6. Transplanting: After a few weeks, check for root formation by gently tugging on the cutting. If you feel resistance, it means roots have developed. At this stage, you can transplant the rooted cutting into a larger pot or directly into the garden, following the plant’s specific requirements.

Leaf Cuttings

Leaf cuttings are commonly used for plants with succulent or thick leaves, such as certain types of sedums and jade plants. Follow these steps when planting leaf cuttings:

  1. Select healthy leaves: Choose a healthy leaf from the parent plant. Gently twist or cut it off, ensuring you have a clean break from the stem.

  2. Prepare the propagation medium: Use a well-draining medium like a mixture of sand and perlite. Ensure the medium is slightly moist but not overly saturated.

  3. Place the leaf on the medium: Lay the leaf on top of the propagation medium, pressing it gently so that it makes good contact with the medium. If the leaf has a stalk, insert it about an inch into the medium.

  4. Provide humidity: Similar to stem cuttings, cover the container with a plastic bag or use a propagating tray with a dome to create a humid environment around the leaf. This will help retain moisture and encourage root development.

  5. Find the optimal location: Place the container in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaf. Maintain a consistent moisture level in the propagation medium.

  6. Root development: After a few weeks, small plantlets will begin to form at the base of the leaf or along the leaf’s veins. Once the plantlets have developed roots, they can be transplanted into individual pots or directly into the garden.

Root Cuttings

Root cuttings involve propagating plants using a section of their roots. This method is suitable for plants with thick or fleshy roots, such as horseradish or sweet potatoes. Here’s how to plant root cuttings:

  1. Select healthy roots: Choose healthy, disease-free roots from the parent plant. Dig up the plant and cut several sections of the roots, each about 2-3 inches long.

  2. Prepare the planting area: Till the soil in the planting area to a depth sufficient for root growth. Mix in compost or organic matter to improve the soil’s fertility.

  3. Plant the root cuttings: Dig holes in the prepared soil, ensuring they are deep enough to accommodate the root cuttings. Place the cuttings horizontally in the hole, with the concave side facing up.

  4. Cover with soil: Carefully cover the root cuttings with soil, ensuring they are completely buried. Gently pack the soil around the cuttings to eliminate air pockets.

  5. Water thoroughly: Give the newly planted root cuttings a generous watering to settle the soil and provide adequate moisture. Monitor the moisture level and water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.

  6. Monitor and maintain: Over time, the root cuttings will develop new shoots and establish themselves. Keep an eye on the plants, providing regular care and maintenance to ensure their healthy growth.

RELATED  How To Plant Orchids [ Full Guide ]

Watering And Fertilizing

Proper watering and fertilizing are crucial for the healthy growth of plants propagated from clippings. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:


  • Monitor soil moisture: Check the moisture level of the soil regularly. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil to determine if it is dry or moist. Water the plants when the soil feels dry to the touch.

  • Water deeply: When watering, provide a thorough soak to ensure the water reaches the roots. Shallow watering can encourage superficial root growth, making the plants more susceptible to drought stress.

  • Avoid overwatering: While it is essential to keep the soil moist, avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot and other diseases. Ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.


  • Start with good soil: Before planting the clippings, amending the soil with organic matter can provide essential nutrients. This reduces the need for additional fertilizers initially.

  • Use balanced fertilizers: Once the plants have established roots and started to grow, you can begin applying balanced fertilizers. Look for a fertilizer with equal amounts or equal ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions: Read and follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging. It will provide guidelines on how much and how often to apply the fertilizer to your specific plants.

  • Avoid over-fertilizing: Over-fertilizing can burn the plants’ roots and cause nutrient imbalances. Always follow the recommended dosage and avoid applying fertilizer when the plants are stressed.

Maintaining Proper Sunlight

Proper sunlight is essential for the growth and development of plants propagated from clippings. Although the light requirements may vary depending on the specific plant, here are some general guidelines:

  • Study plant requirements: Research the specific light requirements of the plants you are propagating from clippings. Some plants may thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade. Understanding their needs will help you find the appropriate location for optimal growth.

  • Observe sunlight patterns: Monitor the sunlight patterns in your garden or the area where you plan to grow the clippings. Note the areas that receive direct sunlight, partial shade, or full shade throughout the day. This will help you determine the best spots to place your propagated plants.

  • Provide necessary shade: If the plants you are propagating prefer partial shade or if the sunlight is too intense, consider providing shade with a shade cloth or by placing the plants under the canopy of larger trees or shrubs.

  • Rotate plants: If you have limited sunlight in your garden, rotate your plants regularly. This will ensure all sides of the plant receive adequate sunlight, preventing uneven growth and potential damage due to direct sunlight.

Keeping Pests And Diseases At Bay

As with any garden plants, clippings are susceptible to pests and diseases. Here are some measures you can take to keep them at bay:

  • Inspect regularly: Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or diseases. Look for discoloration, wilting, chewed leaves, or any other unusual symptoms. Early detection allows for prompt treatment.

  • Practice good garden hygiene: Maintain a clean garden by removing fallen leaves, trimmings, and other debris. Pests and diseases often thrive in such conditions, so regular cleanup can help prevent infestations.

  • Encourage beneficial insects: Attract natural predators, such as ladybugs and lacewings, by planting flowers that attract them. These predatory insects feed on pests and help to keep their populations in check.

  • Use organic pest control methods: Employ organic pest control methods, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap, to combat pests without harming beneficial insects or the environment. Follow the instructions on the product label for safe and effective application.

  • Prevent disease spread: If you notice any signs of disease, promptly remove affected plant parts or, if necessary, the entire plant. Dispose of the infected material properly to prevent the spread of disease to other plants.

Planting clippings is an excellent way to expand your garden and propagate new plants without spending a fortune. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully plant clippings and enjoy the satisfaction of watching them grow and thrive. Remember to prepare the soil, follow the appropriate planting techniques, water and fertilize properly, provide adequate sunlight, and keep pests and diseases at bay. With patience and care, you will have a beautiful garden filled with plants propagated from clippings.

Pruning And Trimming

Planting clippings is an excellent way to propagate plants and expand your garden without spending a fortune on new plants. It’s a simple process that allows you to grow new plants from cuttings taken from existing plants. This method not only saves money but also gives you the opportunity to create new plant varieties.

Before you start planting clippings, it’s important to understand the process of pruning and trimming. Pruning is the act of removing dead or overgrown parts of a plant, such as branches, leaves, or buds. This helps the plant to maintain its shape, health, and vitality. Trimming, on the other hand, involves cutting back healthy parts of the plant to encourage new growth or to control its size.

When selecting clippings for propagation, it’s essential to choose healthy and disease-free plants. Look for stems that are green, flexible, and free from any signs of damage. Using clean, sharp pruners or shears, make a clean cut just below a node, which is the point where a leaf or bud attaches to the stem. Nodes are important because they contain meristematic tissue, which is responsible for producing new roots.

RELATED  How To Plant Succulents In Terrarium [ Full Guide ]

Once you have your clippings, remove any leaves from the lower portion of the stem. This will prevent them from rotting when placed in water or soil. It’s best to leave only a few leaves at the top to allow the cutting to focus its energy on root production.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While planting clippings is a relatively straightforward process, it’s not uncommon to encounter some issues along the way. Here are a few common problems and their solutions:

Root Rot

Root rot occurs when the roots of a cutting become overly saturated with water, leading to rot and decay. To prevent root rot, ensure that the soil you use is well-draining and not overly compacted. Avoid overwatering and keep the soil slightly moist, but not waterlogged.


Wilting is a common problem that can occur if the cutting doesn’t receive enough water or if it’s exposed to excessive heat or direct sunlight. Ensure that the cutting is receiving adequate water and provide shade or indirect sunlight until it establishes roots.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections, such as powdery mildew or black spot, can affect cuttings. To prevent fungal infections, make sure to use sterile equipment when taking cuttings and carefully monitor the humidity levels around the plants. If you notice any signs of fungal infections, treat them with appropriate fungicides as recommended by your local garden center.

Transplant Shock

When moving a cutting from water to soil or from a pot to the ground, it may experience transplant shock. To minimize transplant shock, handle the cutting with care and ensure that the root system remains intact during the transfer. Water the cutting thoroughly after transplanting to help it establish in its new environment.

Timeframe For Growth And Development

The timeframe for growth and development of clippings can vary depending on the plant species. However, most clippings will start to develop roots within a few weeks to a couple of months.

When propagating in water, monitor the cutting regularly to see when roots start to form. Once the roots are 1-2 inches long, it’s time to transfer the cutting to soil. When planting directly in soil, keep the soil slightly moist and provide the cutting with appropriate light and temperature conditions.

During the first few weeks, it’s crucial to keep the cuttings in a protected environment with high humidity. This can be achieved by covering them with a plastic bag or placing them in a propagator. This will encourage the development of roots and promote overall growth.

Once the cutting has established roots and new growth has emerged, you can gradually expose it to normal growing conditions. Gradually increase the light exposure and reduce the humidity levels to help the cutting acclimate to its new environment.

Harvesting And Enjoying Your New Plants

After a few months of growth, your cuttings will have developed into healthy, well-established plants ready to be harvested and enjoyed. To harvest the new plants, carefully dig around the base of the cutting, making sure to avoid damaging the roots.

Gently lift the plant out of the ground, keeping the root ball intact. Shake off any excess soil, and if necessary, trim back any damaged or excessively long roots. Transplant the new plant into a pot or directly into the ground, making sure to provide it with the necessary care and attention for continued growth.

Once your new plants have been transplanted, provide them with proper watering and regular fertilization to promote healthy growth. Monitor them for any signs of stress or disease and address any issues promptly.


Planting clippings is an effective and cost-efficient way to expand your garden. By following the steps outlined in this article, including pruning and trimming, troubleshooting common issues, understanding the timeframe for growth and development, and harvesting and enjoying your new plants, you can successfully propagate a variety of plants. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener looking to add to your collection or a beginner trying your hand at propagation, planting clippings is a rewarding and enjoyable process that allows you to create a thriving garden from the cuttings of your favorite plants. So go ahead, grab your pruners, and start propagating!


What Materials Do I Need To Plant Clippings?

You will need a small pot or container, potting soil, a sharp knife or pruning shears, and some water.

What Type Of Container Is Best For Planting Clippings?

A small, shallow container with drainage holes is ideal as it allows for proper drainage and root growth.

When Is The Best Time To Take Clippings For Planting?

The best time to take clippings is in the early morning, before the plant has been exposed to direct sunlight or heat.

How Do I Prepare The Clippings For Planting?

Use a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears to make a clean cut, removing any excess leaves or flowers from the bottom half of the stem. This will ensure that the plant can put its energy into growing roots instead of supporting unnecessary foliage.

How Do I Care For Newly Planted Clippings?

Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Place the container in a location with indirect sunlight and maintain a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Mist the clippings regularly to keep the humidity levels up and protect them from drafts.