Top 10 to Grow From Plant Cuttings
Spread the splendor of your garden with these 10 beauties, perfect for starting from plant cuttings.
I’ve never met a gardener who didn’t want to share or expand his or her garden. And there are so many ways to do just that. One easily overlooked way is by taking plant cuttings. You can take a snip of a plant to start a whole new one – for yourself or a friend! Bear in mind that you can’t take a cutting from a plant that is patented. That’s usually any new variety, but you can tell by checking the plant tag. Most old family favorites and garden classics are fine to use for cuttings. Most important, though: Don’t get discouraged if growing from plant cuttings doesn’t work the first couple of times around. It can be a tricky process and takes some trial and error.
It’s best to take cuttings from recently watered plants. The cuttings will be healthier when taken from plants that are full of moisture.
Make sure you have a clean, sharp knife or a good pair of pruning shears handy to make the cuts.
Take cuttings only from healthy plants. Make sure the parent plants are disease- and pest-free. Early morning is the best time to take cuttings.
Not all plant cuttings will root at the same speed, so if one plant takes 10 days and another takes 20 days, don’t be alarmed.
Be prepared for this process to fail from time to time. And don’t be afraid to experiment with other plants, just to see what happens.
Impatiens (Impatiens), Annual
It’s true: This garden standby is in danger, but research is underway to save this beauty from downy mildew. But for the meantime, don’t count impatiens out in gardens that haven’t been afflicted with the disease! Resilient and reliable, it’s a cheerful, shade-loving flower that will do well in almost any part of the landscape.
Taking cuttings: Take cuttings only from healthy plants and keep them short, with no more than two or three mature leaves on each.
Inch Plant (Tradescantia), Zones 8 – 12, Annual Elsewhere
A longtime favorite houseplant, inch plant can be grown outdoors in containers or as a ground cover where winter-hardy. For prime leaf color, grow inch plant in filtered sun.
Taking cuttings: It’s easy to start this colorful plant from cuttings because you can take them from outdoor plants anytime during the season and year-round from houseplants.
Fuchsia (Fuchsia), annual
Fuchsia’s dainty flowers might be some of the most recognizable blooms of all. Some even say that the delicate blossoms resemble a ballerina. Outdoors, this graceful plant will benefit and thrive in shade. Fuchsia is most commonly grown in a container. Try it mixed with other annuals, too!
Taking cuttings: The good news is that fuchsia cuttings will root quite quickly, sometimes even in 10 days or fewer. Take cuttings in late summer, and don’t allow them to wilt. Place the cuttings in the growing pot right away.
Coleus (Solenostemon), Annual
Coleus is both a garden classic and an ever-evolving star, with fresh varieties popping up every year. And it’s not just a shade favorite anymore, either. New hybrid plants can tolerate full sun, but this means they also need more water than traditional cultivars. Coleus will do best in rich, moist, well-draining soil.
Taking cuttings: Take a 2- to 3-inch stem cutting and remove the lowest leaf. Stick the cutting in vermiculite, perlite or a well-drained potting mix, covering the leaf scar, and put it in a warm, bright location out of direct sunlight. Cuttings root in about two weeks, and several weeks later they can be planted in a well-drained potting mix.
Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana), Annual
This copper-colored charmer can be grown as both an annual outdoor plant and a houseplant. Use it to add fiery color to partially shaded beds, borders or even a large container. You may see yellow-white summer blooms.
Taking cuttings: Easy to maintain, copperleaf is equally easy to grow from stem cuttings. (See instructions for coleus, above.) Take the cuttings in late summer and let them root and grow indoors over the winter.
Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas), Annual
Classic sweet potato vine is generally grown for its fabulous chartreuse foliage, but new varieties like Blackie are options, too. The foliage has a more intense color when planted in the sun, but it will perform in partial shade.
Taking cuttings: Make a cut straight across the stem about 6 inches from the tip. These cuttings are actually the easiest way to start new plants; some gardeners swear by placing the cutting directly in the ground in spring, keeping the area moist until the roots develop.
Annual Vinca (Catharanthus roseus), Annual
Also known as Madagascar periwinkle, this annual is great for full sun or part shade and tolerates heat stress. Annual vinca is similar to impatiens in look and growth habit, so it is an excellent substitute for impatiens in hot, sunny areas. The glossy green leaves are a nice complement to the colorful blooms.
Taking cuttings: Vinca cuttings can be taken throughout the growing season before the first frost. They’ll root quickly and may bloom when grown in a sunny window.
Alternanthera (Alternanthera), Annual
A visual delight because of its riotously colorful foliage, alternanthera is a bushy shrub you can pinch and shear to maintain shape and size. Because you can keep it under control, it’s an ideal container plant. Grow it in full sun to bring out its knockout leaf color.
Taking cuttings: You’ll want to make any divisions of alternanthera in spring, but take cuttings in late summer. Then overwinter the young plants indoors.
Licorice Vine (Helichrysum petiolare), Zones 9 to 11
Here’s a drought-tolerant vine you’ll want to use as a trailer or filler, especially in large containers or hanging baskets. It can be grown as an annual in places outside Zones 9 to 11. The fuzzy, silvery foliage offers wonderful texture in a grouping of plants. It loves to soak up the sun but will do well in partial shade, too.
Taking cuttings: Licorice vine cuttings will do best when taken in late summer. The rooted cutting will be ready for planting in spring when the danger of frost has passed.
Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum), Annual
Geraniums have so many virtues, and they don’t always get enough credit. Sure, they’re somewhat old-fashioned, but they’re pretty, sun-loving, long-lasting, tough, and perfect in containers and window boxes.
Taking cuttings: Make sure your tools, rooting mix and pots are sterilized; geraniums are very susceptible to disease. At the end of summer, make a cut about 4 inches down from one of the growing tips of the plant, remove flowers and buds, and place cuttings in a pot. They should root within 20 days. You can also try a rooting hormone for increased success.