How to grow hardwood cuttings

Hardwood cuttings are an easy way of taking pieces of woody stem of shrubs, some trees and climbers to grow new plants. It’s done when plants are dormant in winter, when they’ve dropped their leaves.

Use hardwood cuttings to grow more Buddleja, hydrangea, elderflower, cornus, jasmine, honeysuckle, gooseberries, roses, figs and currants. Check online to see if your favourite woody plant is suitable.

1) Cut lengths about 20cm long, ending above and below a growing point (called a node)

In the above photo I’ve cut buddleia sticks into close to 20cm pieces. Although there are three growing points, you don’t need the middle one, but in this case, they’re included to make sure the stick is long enough. Although not clear in the above photo, it’s best practice to cut the top at a slant and the bottom flat. This not only helps you remember which way is up, it helps rain run off the top of the stem preventing infection.

2) Stick the cuttings into a pot of compost or into the ground so at least half is covered

Plonking in the ground is the easiest and most sustainable method as it requires no pots, compost or watering. I’ve put mine in a pot as I don’t have a spot in the ground right now.

3) Keep damp and leave until you see roots growing out of the bottom

This could take 6 months or more, then plant out where you want them or into bigger pots.

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7 thoughts on “How to grow hardwood cuttings

  1. I love this Jack! Really clear, simple instructions – I’m definitely going to give this a try, thank you!

    1. That’s great Cheryl! I’m glad it was easy to follow, really I could have just said cut some sticks and put them in some compost lol but it’s probably good to be a little more detailed than that. Have fun trying it out!

      1. 😆 But as a relative newcomer to all this gardening mullarky, the detail is appreciated! I have a lovely but small Buddleja Globosa so I’m going to see if I can get another couple of those going. Thanks again!

        1. I agree with Cheryl – critical details always helpful. I had in my head B glob cuttings had to be done later in year? There’s a wild one near us that I keep meaning to take a cutting from and miss the season. Can I just try hardwood now?
          Love the mix of chat about your garden, the area, what to do now, other practilities – thanks for the effort Jack.

          1. Thank you Paula 💞 I’ve always done hard wood cuttings at any point while dormant but I guess starting them nearer to spring for some species is good because it just reduces the time is cold wet soil / compost.

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