How to take hydrangea cuttings – step by step guide

How to take hydrangea cuttings – step by step guide

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There is nothing better than free plants and the enjoyment of growing your own. If you already have beautiful hydrangeas that you love you can take your full-grown plants and use them to grow new plants in a fast and simple method. Using cuttings from your existing plants reduces the amount of time it takes to go from seed to full-grown plant by 50%.

Using your cuttings to root and multiply your plants is known as propagating. With a little help from a rooting hormone propagating your cuttings is very simple.


The supplies you need include

  • A set of pruning secateurs or sharp knife
  • Containers for your cuttings
  • Potting mix specifically for rooting
  • Rooting hormone to give them the best start

Taking hydrangea cuttings

When you are ready to take your hydrangea cuttings, follow these steps:

Step 1: Cut off the stem

Select healthy growth on your hydrangea between 3 and 5 inches in length. Make a single sharp cut all the way through. If you end up mashing the stems while trying to take the cut it will be very difficult for the hydrangea to develop new roots which is why you want to make sure you have the sharpest set of shears or knives for this step.

Experts stipulate that with hydrangeas it is best to take your cutting from a branch that did not flower this year as you want the cutting to put all its energy into rooting not flowering

Step 2: Remove lower leaves

When you have your sections of hydrangea,  you want to leave a set of leaves at the top but clip off all of the leaves that are in the lower half. When you are done with this process you should have a bare stem that you can insert into your potting soil and your containers.

As you do this step be careful not to cut the stem while removing the leaves. This leaves what is effectively an open wound on the stem which can result in diseases or stunted growth.

If the leaves on your hydrangea are particularly large you can cut them down to half their size.

How to propagate hydrangeas

Once you have the cuttings it is time to propagate.

Step 1: Dip in rooting hormone

Take your cuttings and dip them in a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones will simply help the plant to develop its root structure much more quickly.

Step 2: Plant

When you are ready to take the containers you plan to use. Fill the containers with your potting mixture but make sure to add something like perlite in order to add buoyancy and allow for better drainage. Carefully dig a hole with a pen or pencil directly into the container. After you have dipped the stem in the rooting hormone, stick it directly into that hole.

It is best to keep the cutting humid, recreating miniature greenhouses around each container. There are different ways that you can do this. One is to use small containers designed especially for this purpose. Containers like these typically have a box shape with a plastic top that fits over the container and adds extra height ideal for the cutting.

The more advanced designs will have an opening valve at the top that you can open and close to the degree necessary for ventilation and water. Conversely you can cover the tops with Saran Wrap or plastic wrap and secure them in place with a rubber band. Other options include sticking the cuttings in a plastic bag like a ziplock bag. Whatever option you use just make sure that the cover doesn’t actually come into contact with the cutting. You can use things like Chopsticks or pencils to create a tent formation around the cutting as it develops.

After about one month you should have an adequate root structure and be able to transplant your hydrangeas into larger pots or leave them to establisah in the pots there already in if adequat.


When you are taking and planting your cutting it is best to do it in the morning. Early morning is when your hydrangea has the most moisture so taking your cuttings at that time will be beneficial in the rooting process.

Once you have your cuttings make sure to keep them cool and moist until you decide to pot them. If you take cuttings and don’t pot them immediately, that’s perfectly fine but just avoid exposing the cuttings to direct sunlight during that time.

After you have propagated your cutting they will typically route faster if you keep them warm and humid so make sure to regularly mist them.

Read next: How to take buddleia cutting

Image by Jan Blanicky from Pixabay

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