How to Mass Propagate Shrubs from Cuttings

June is the perfect time to propagate shrubs. Whether it’s your great-grandmother’s rose or just a favorite hydrangea, we all have situations where we want to make clones of a single plant.

A garden friend sent me pictures of his propagation setup and they seemed easy to understand. I’ll let him describe it:

Last June, I attempted to root 200 cuttings from camellia, gardenia, rhododendron, azalea and hydrangea. Most (140) of the cuttings rooted successfully and were transplanted to pots in October. I covered these plants, which are between 6 to 12 inches high, with pine straw to protect them during the winter. The plants will be permanently planted in my yard in the spring.

Here’s how I did it:

2″ x 8″ treated pine was used.

The big box is 8 ft long with a two foot long piece of 2″ x 8″ between each end.

The 3 dividers are two feet long 2″ x 8″ spaced 2 ft. apart to create four 2 ft. x 2 ft. boxes in each big box. (The home improvement store cut the wood for me.)

I put two 8ft. boxes bolted end to end in a protected shaded area.

Weed cloth is stapled to the bottom of the entire 8 ft length to retain soil but allow drainage. The box is placed on a bed of leaves, providing for additional drainage and keeping the water from pooling under the box.

The boxes are filled 5″ deep with rooting media I made with the following ratio:

1 bag sand
1 bag perlite
1/8 bag peatmoss

Cuttings were 9″ to 12″ long, each spaced 6″ apart. The cuttings were dipped in Rootone hormone powder.

All plants were watered with mist every other day to keep the soil moist.

Bob P.

  • Advertisement