There are plenty of reasons to consider propagating plants from hardwood cuttings.
Usually done in the winter or fall, taking hardwood cuttings is a good way to increase the number of plants you have growing in your garden. You can fill in any gaps you might have in your landscaping, create new hedges or windbreaks, and create a more beautiful overall aesthetic.
When it comes to propagation, plants essentially fall into one of several categories. Softwood cuttings are those that come from new growth and are generally taken in the spring, while greenwood cuttings are those taken from plants with non-woody plants. Semi-ripe (or semi-hardwood) cuttings are those that are tougher and more mature, usually taken toward the end of summer
And the one you’ve been waiting for - hardwood cuttings. Hardwood cuttings are those generally taken during the winter. They include plants that are deciduous shrubs, fruits, trees, and climbers.
Ready to get started? Here are 25 plants to propagate from hardwood cuttings - and some tips on how to do so.
Plants to Propagate from Hardwood Cuttings
If you are new to this, you may want to start with planting some of these long-lasting shrubs and trees first. Once they are growing and thriving, you can then begin working on propagating new plants. Want to add more color to your yard? Check out these great flowers to plant under trees. They grow and create beautiful blossoms despite the shade!
Abelia is the first shrub on our list that’s easy to grow from a hardwood cutting. You’ll take it when the plant is dormant, typically sometime between mid-autumn and late winter. Ideally, you should do this after the leaves have fallen. Dip your cutting in a rooting hormone, then put it in some soil. Make sure you only take cuttings from this plant if the wood is more than a year old.
The blueberry plant is just one of many berry plants that can be propagated via hardwood cutting. You will take it during the dormant season after a period of chilling, typically in late January through February.
There are truly hundreds of varieties of blueberries to choose from. If you are just starting to plant them, below are some great options that yield delicious fruit and are easy to tend.
Want more fruit in your garden? Check out these berry bushes anyone can grow. Tons of great ideas on the list!
3. Viburnum opulus
With broad flower heads and vibrant autumn color, this plant grows well in heavy soils and is also quite simple to propagate from a hardwood cutting. This may also be known as the Common Snowball Bush. A fun name that will make kids smile for sure!
4. Angel’s Trumpet
Angel’s trumpet produces lovely trumpet-shaped flowers, normally white in color, on hefty vines. They grow quite well when planted and propagated from cuttings.
I could see these fitting into some of these vintage garden decor ideas beautifully. There is just something about them that screams rustic vintage garden vibes to me.
5. Mock orange
The mock orange is easy to take hardwood cuttings from. As long as you wait until after the plant has flowered to prune it - and then take your cutting - you’ll find that it produces gorgeous and strong canes for you to produce new plants from.
Even hydrangeas can be grown from hardwood cuttings. You may have more luck when doing this in the spring, but if you wait, don’t worry - you shouldn’t have too much trouble doing it later in the year, either.
Hydrangeas are a flower that comes in a multitude of colors and is beloved by many. If you haven't planted and want more in your garden, below are some of the most beautiful options to choose from.
- Nikko Blue Hydrangea
- Summer Crush Bigleaf Hydrangea
- Blushing Bride Bigleaf Hydrangea
- Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea
- Grateful Red Hydrangea
You are likely already familiar with the juniper shrub, the essential oil of which is used to treat bronchitis, and the berries of which are used in gin. This is yet another shrub that can be grown from a hardwood cutting. There are a large variety of types, but the Blue Star Juniper is always my favorite.
Forsythia is a common ornamental plant and it’s also easy to make more of! As long as you prune early, you can take a cutting from strong new growth. This shrub flowers in the spring.
9. Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon is a shrub that produces many attractive flowers and can grow both in partial shade and full sun. It can also be easily cultivated from a hardwood cutting.
10. Tea Olive
The tea olive is a dense evergreen shrub or small tree that grows well from a cutting. These trees only grow to about ten feet in height but produce a heavenly fragrance.
11. Physocarpus opulifolius
This unique plant grows easily from a cutting. While you can get a little bit more out of it by taking a softwood cutting, a hardwood cutting should also root as long as you give it plenty of time to do so. The Tiny Wine Ninebark is my favorite variety of this plant.
There are quite a few ornamental weigela varieties you can choose from, but just about all of them can be grown from hardwood cuttings. These full-sun perennials can occasionally be grown in partial shade, but the best colors appear in full sun.
Want to see all of the colors available in the Weigela? Check out our favorites below.
Willow is another plant that can be propagated from a hardwood cutting. It takes just a few weeks for them to root and leaf out. Some gardeners even report success in rooting their willow cuttings in a container of water.
Blackcurrants are fruit-bearing plants that produce tantalizing berries in shades of white, red, or black (not just black, as the name implies). With thick, straight stems, blackcurrant branches are perfect for taking hardwood cuttings.
Spirea, also known as Japanese spiraea, is a bush that will produce gorgeous clusters of red, pink, white, or purple flowers. The Anthony Waterer Spiraea is a favorite for the brilliant pink blossoms. These flowers typically appear in the last spring and summer, but it’s the winter months you’ll want to pay attention to if you plan on propagating from a hardwood cutting.
16. Crape Myrtle
The crape myrtle tree is a deciduous shrub or small tree with gorgeous pink flowers and dark green foliage that turns to yellow, orange or red in the fall. It’s also easy to propagate from a hardwood cutting!
Some favorite varieties to choose from include:
The name is giggle-inducing, but rest assured, this is a great plant to grow from a hardwood cutting. It’s a self-seeding plant so you don’t have to propagate it in this way, but if you want more of one specific variety, taking a hardwood cutting is a great option.
Here are some more plants you can grow from cuttings that might fit into your garden alongside these gorgeous blooms!
While some people propagate grapevines in the early spring, you can also do this from a hardwood cutting. Just make sure you use a bit of rooting hormone!
19. Honey Locust
Honey locust trees can also be propagated from cuttings. To do this, you’ll want to choose a branch with healthy twigs that break easily when bent. It’s actually far easier to propagate this plant from a cutting than it is to sow seeds, as seeds from this plant have a hard coating.
Another shrub you can grow from a hardwood cutting? Boxwood. This shrub actually grows best from semi-hardwood cuttings that are taken in the middle of fall (no later than October). Allow the spring growth to harden, but don’t wait as long as you might with these other kinds of hardwood cuttings.
Not sure which to choose if planting new? Below are some great choices.
21. Shrub roses
Not all roses are easy to propagate, but shrub roses are some of the easiest. You may find that you have better luck with these cuttings than you do when taking cuttings from ramblers or climbers. The Pink Drift Groundcover Rose is an excellent choice with light pink blooms. Of course, there are tons of options and it's a great idea to research to find the ones that fit your region best.
A conifer tree in the cypress family, cryptomeria can also be grown from a cutting with relative ease. These trees grow up to 80 feet tall - while you won’t have that kind of immediate success with your cutting, you shouldn’t have any problem rooting one from a small, humble bit of an existing plant.
The fig is another kind of plant that can produce glorious hardwood cuttings. You’ll have the best luck if you take cuttings when the tree is dormant. Take one that’s between six and twelve inches long, ideally from a branch half an inch in diameter.
If you end up growing a large harvest of figs, check out some of these great homemade jams and jellies for ideas on preserving that fig abundance!
Another kind of fruiting plant that you can propagate from a hardwood cutting is the raspberry. In fact, it regrows so well that some people suggest rooting it in the water! You’ll take a cutting from the primocane, or raspberry sucker, and transplant it in the spring, when it’s at least five inches tall.
You can easily propagate a blackberry vine from a cutting, too. Take it sometime early in the winter - ideally no later than January 31. Be sure to disinfect your planting tools when taking this kind of cutting, as blackberry plants are prone to disease.
Tips for Propagating from Hardwood Cuttings
If you’re new to propagating new plants from hardwood cuttings, don’t worry - it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds. To get started, you will need to choose healthy stems, vine sections, or small branches from your climbers, trees, or shrubs. Slice straight across the stems, using a clean sharp implement to cut the plant just above a bud.
After that, you can remove any soft growth that appears at the growing tip-end of the cutting. When you cut, do so at a slope so that water can run off the top of the cutting. This will also help you easily see which end is up. Section out the cutting into pieces (the length of the pieces will vary, but for most large plants, it will be around 12 inches).
You’ll get the best results if you dip your cutting into hormone rooting powder. Place your hardwood cutting into the soil, leaving about a third of the cutting visible. If you’re planting multiple cuttings, leave four to six inches between each one. New roots will form beneath the surface and green growth will be produced from the buds come spring.
Before you finish up, pat the soil down around the cutting and water deeply. That’s all there is to it!
As you can see, taking hardwood cuttings is simple - plus, what do you have to lose? Consider making an attempt to propagate one of these plants from hardwood cuttings. You won’t regret it!