How to propagate hydrangea?

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Here’s a super easy way to multiply your favorite Hydrangea plants for free: propagate Hydrangea cuttings! Like many garden lovers, I can’t get enough Hydrangeas because they come in so many beautiful shapes and colors. Yes we could each buy 50 different Hydrangea plants, or get together with some gardener friend to trade and propagate Hydrangea cuttings!

All Hydrangea varieties from showy Hydrangea macrophylla, to dreamy Hydrangea arborescens are easy to propagate. Our Hydrangea cuttings we propagated last summer are beginning to bloom this year already!

The best time to propagate Hydrangea cuttings is from spring when the plant is leafing out, to early fall when the leaves are still lush and green.

How to propagate Hydrangea cuttings in 2 Easy steps:

To give your Hydrangea cuttings the best chance to root, start with healthy plants free of pests such as aphids or any disease. Both blooming and non-blooming stems can be propagated easily, but I always try to find stems without flower buds first.

Tip: don’t let the Hydrangea cuttings dry out during the whole process. Work fast in a shaded area.

Step 1: prepare Hydrangea cuttings

Choose 3″ to 5″ long tender green stems, which will root more quickly and easily than woody stems. Cut just below a leaf node, the cutting should have at least 3 leaf nodes.

Trimmed all but the top two leaves ( or four leaves if the top two leaves are much smaller than average ) from the stem using a clean sharp pruner. Be very careful not to scratch or damage the main stem.

If you are propagating large leaf Hydrangea varieties with leaves 3″ across or larger, trimming the remaining two large leaves in half will reduce the stress on the cuttings to draw up water. For smaller leaf Hydrangeas, it’s ok to keep the leaves whole.

You may also love: Colorful flower planters with design plant list for each!

Colorful flower planters with design plant list for each!

Step 2: root Hydrangea cuttings

( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. ) I have found that rooting hormone powder does speed up propagation quite a bit. If you don’t have any rooting hormone, it will take a little longer. Hydrangeas are so easy to root, especially if you use the “tent” shown later.

Put some rooting hormone powder in a dry zip-lock bag, dip the cuttings in water, shake off excess water, and put the stems inside the bags. Shake the bag till the stems are coated with rooting hormone. I usually keep the bag open for a few hours to let moisture evaporate, and close the bag with the remaining rooting hormone powder for reuse next time.

Use a stick or pencil to dip a hole in the damp potting mix, and drop each cutting in a hole. Gently push the soil to secure each cutting. Space the cuttings 1″ to 2″ apart minimum.

There are several good rooting medium choices. to propagate Hydrangea cuttings. Seed started soil mix or a good potting soil are both great. Do not use garden soil or soil mix with lots of manure or fertilizer content as too much nutrients can cause cutting to rot before they take root. A soil-less mix of 50% peat moss ( soak in in water for 30 minutes before use ) and 50% horticulture perlite also makes a great propagation mix.

Ready for my favorite propagation secret??

A big 18″ tall clear plastic bin with lid! This acts like a humid greenhouse. After planting the cuttings in moist propagation mix, all you need to do is placing the inside the bin, mist the interior gently, and close the lid.

Check on the cuttings once a week. You may need to mist the interior occasionally. If you don’t have a bin, just remember to water often and keep your new hydrangea cuttings moist at all times, but never soggy. Keep the bin and / or cuttings in a bright warm place out of direct sun.

After about ten days, your hydrangea cuttings will begin to form new roots. Don’t disturb them yet! When a healthy root system forms in 4-6 weeks, you can plant them in the garden or a bigger container.

Keep the newly planted cuttings well watered for the first 2 weeks. Once they are more established, they will require less care. Hydrangeas love dappled shade and moist soil. I have seen them thriving in full sun in Pacific Northwest or on the east coast. But here in dry and sunny Southern California, they do much better in bright shade with a little morning sun.

Another great colorful plant for shade is Coleus, which looks great with Hydrangeas! Here’s a guide on how to propagate and grow Coleus!

Now that you have a Hydrangea garden, how about painting the bubble-paint Hydrangea flowers? Super easy, no art experience required! =)

May your days be filled with hydrangeas! xo

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This post may contain affiliate links. This won’t change your price, but may share some commission. Read my full disclosure here.

Propagating hydrangeas is incredibly easy to do! If you’re looking to turn one hydrangea into multiple, I’ve got the steps and pics for 3 different methods, starting with how I turned cuttings into new shrubs for the garden.

Jump to section: Grow from Cuttings | Bent Branch | Water Method

This year, Kyle and I have gone propagation crazy. Wait — let me rephrase that.

Earlier this year, I stuck a branch from my ZZ plant into a little water after it broke off the original plant (clumsy me while painting the master bedroom). I thought, at best, it might propagate like I’d seen on Instagram; if not, no biggie. Over a few weeks of changing out the water regularly, it grew roots!

Since spotting that first root, Kyle has been sticking every branch he finds into water now. ?

I have created a monster. A very specific, uses-up-all-my-wine-glasses-for-magnolias-and-maples-and-who-knows-what-the-heck-that-one-is? windowsill monster. But, a monster that is eager to grow green things when I like green things isn’t really a problem, is it? Especially when I don’t have to pay for them… so, I’m choosing to enjoy it! I recently showed him this test tube project from Vintage Revivals, and he’s into it. Our own version may be in the works soon.

I’m telling you this merely to introduce why I decided to branch out (ba-dum-tss ?) by learning how to propagate my hydrangeas this year. Growing new plants has been a frequent topic of conversation, and it’s more or less a “I wonder if I can” type of experiment. I had a planter full of container mix on the deck and had just finished cutting back a bunch of new growth on my shrubs (they are blooming like crazy!!), so rather than using water for this one, I tried dirt and root hormone. And it worked!

How to Grow New Hydrangeas from Cuttings

Items You’ll Need:

  • pruning shears
  • rooting hormone powder
  • planter
  • potting soil

1. When should you take cuttings?

Some experts seem to recommend doing cuttings in spring when hydrangeas are beginning to leaf out and growing a lot (which makes sense). Some gardeners swear by rooting them in winter, where they’ll grow more resilient roots versus summer (which also makes sense). So, as of now, I have no recommendation as to what time of year is best. I’m simply taking what I cut off from pruning my hydrangeas in spring and summer and using those cutoffs for propagation. Keep in mind that this is a totally free, no-pressure-needed method, so there’s really only upside if they happen to root.

It’s also recommended to make cuttings when the sun isn’t beating down, such as in the morning/evening and to pot them as soon as possible. If you saw my guide on growing hydrangeas before, you may remember that the stem tends to form a waxy plug when it’s cut, so working quickly is best.

2. Where to cut

Most experts seem to recommend making a cutting that has a few leaf nodes on them. That’s where you can see leaves branching off of the main stem. You’ll notice little nubs where the leaf meets the stem.

I’ve been cutting them both above a leaf node and below (or in some cases, cutting a long stem into two separate cuttings), and it really doesn’t seem to make much difference as long as enough of the stem is planted in the soil.

3. Trim down the leaves

On each stem, I nipped off most of the leaves, starting at the bottom and working my way up (close to the stem is good, with just a small nub).

The leaves can be very taxing on a hydrangea stem that doesn’t have roots yet (there’s no system to get water to the leaves), so I left the last few leaves on top but cut them down to reduce the overall burden for each plant.

4. Dip in root hormone

I know I’ll get a little flak for indiscriminately dipping the cutting directly into the pot of root growth hormone, but meh — I’ve done it time and time again without issue, and with different plants, and the powder gets everywhere, so I don’t like to dump it into a second container if I don’t have to.

5. Plant the cutting in soil

I didn’t replace the soil that was already in the planter before, but it already contained a mix that was supposed to be used for container gardening, which turned out to work very well for this. I simply dug a narrow hole and planted each powdered stem, compacting the soil tightly enough that they could stand upright.

6. Keep it watered

I put the pot directly on the concrete patio, next to my sliding glass door. It’s pretty much the same conditions as the other hydrangeas that run along the house (gets the same kind of light at the same time of day as all the other hydrangeas, rain, protection from heat and wind, etc.). It’s been an extremely wet summer so far, so I actually haven’t had to worry too much about watering. The planter does an extremely good job of keeping moisture without getting soggy (part of the reason I’m using it).

7. Wait patiently, but check in

The last step can be a difficult one at first, but the waiting is probably the toughest part. When I have to wait on things like this, I tend to totally forget (thus why having a planter that did some of the work for me was ideal). After a couple of weeks, it was clear that at least two were taking root (a gentle tug showed resistance, indicating it had roots holding onto the soil). I’m now seeing the one I thought was the least promising grow new leaves, and I’ll be replanting them into fresh pots and giving them to family members very soon!

Not bad, IMO. For every new plant I manage to propagate, I save myself a good $15 apiece. Win!

Rooting Hydrangeas from a Bent-Over Branch

My dad prefers this method, so I’m going to include it here. I have a small gap between two of my largest hydrangeas, but the other ones I have along the house are more densely spaced. So, I want to close this gap by rooting a branch into the soil.

3. Weigh down the branch with something heavy

Stick the branch in the soil a little bit if you can, but stop if it will snap the branch. A brick, a rock, etc. works just fine.

4. Continue to water as normal, but check often

Lift up the weight occasionally to see whether the plant is rooting (give it a slight tug if you aren’t sure; if it resists, it’s got roots). If it hasn’t yet, weigh it down again.

5. Once rooted, clip the branch from the “mother” plant

The “mother” plant will still continue to supply the new branch with nutrients and water, so once it’s rooted, clip them apart so the new roots can become 100% of the source for sustaining the new plant. Wait a couple more weeks, and then you can uproot the new plant if you want (if you try to clip it and transplant it at the same time, there’s a risk the new roots won’t supply enough for the plant yet, so the multi-step process is recommended). I’m planning on keeping the plant in this spot, so I won’t do this step myself (unless both branches root, so I’ll probably give the second one away or transfer it to the front yard island area with other shrubs).

Hydrangea water propagation

Water propagation has been very popular online as of late, and I am kind of excited to try it out on the other plants (I’ll continue to share results from the things we propagate… just as soon as I figure out what they all are!). However, according to some of the info I’ve been reading, water propagation is not advised for hydrangeas in particular — something about creating a weaker root system, where they tend to fail once you transplant them to soil.

However, since I haven’t tried it myself yet, I’ll also mention that one reader has already commented a few posts back that she’s had no problem with it. So, if you try it this way with success, please let me know!

As for the other plants, water propagation is incredibly simple:

  1. Take a small plant cutting
  2. Arrange it in a glass so the stem sits in the water, but the leaves & other parts don’t sit in the water (or they’ll rot)
  3. Use a clear glass so you can monitor the progress of the root easier
  4. Change out the water every few days
  5. Place in adequate sunlight (we’re using the bedroom windowsills that have nice, filtered light thanks to the window film)
  6. Optional: add some liquid/gel/powder rooting hormone
  7. Be patient!

There you have it: 3 methods, but but the bottom line is that hydrangeas are incredibly easy to grow. Have you tried any of these yet? Check out the posts below for even more tips on hydrangeas!

More Hydrangea Guides

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy & effectiveness of the information displayed on this website, The Ugly Duckling House is for entertainment purposes only. All tutorials and demonstrations are not intended to be professional advice (nor substitute as such), and I make no guarantees as to the procedures and information here. Creating with my suggested methods, materials, and tools is under your own risk. Please ensure you are following proper guidelines with anything used, and seek professional advice if you don’t know how to do something! Read my complete disclosure here.

Originally published by Kathy Hummel on 09/13/2017


  1. Take a cutting from a branch of the hydrangea shrub about 5-6″ long. Most experts say the cutting will work best if taken from a branch that did not flower this year.
  2. Remove the lower leaves of the bottom two leaf nodes. The leaf node is where a leaf comes out of the branch. Most roots will form at that point.
  3. Cut largest leaves down to about half their size
  4. Dip cuttings in rooting hormone (this is entirely optional) and insert into damp vermiculite or sterile medium.
  5. Water pot well and allow to drain. Make sure soil is moist but not soggy. Cover cuttings and pot with plastic. Try to keep plastic from touching leaves by adding stakes.

O.K., I admit I stuck three steps in number 5, but this really is simple.

TIPS: Place cuttings in a bright shady area. NEVER PLACE NEW CUTTINGS IN THE SUN. They will cook in the plastic.

Do not water again until top of soil begins to feel dry. Overwatering will cause cuttings to rot.

Expect cuttings to begin to form roots in 2-3 weeks, depending on temperature (faster in warm weather) and humidity. Some cuttings root in as little as one week. If a tug on the cutting resists the pull, it is rooting. Reminder-reproduction of trade marked or patented plants may be prohibited.


I love this very easy method. However, you are limited to rooting only a small number of new plants at a time unless you have many hydrangeas.

Select a branch close to the ground (or several).

Remove the leaves for about 5-6 inches at the spot where the branch will touch the ground when you gently bend it down. Scrape a little of the bark off the underside of the branch in this area. Make sure at least one leaf node will be under the ground.

Do not cut the branch off the mother plant. Dig a little trench about 2 inches deep and lower the branch into it and cover generously with soil. Put a brick or stone on the buried area so that it will stay under the soil. This also helps to hold the moisture around the branch. Keep it watered occasionally. When roots form, cut the branch from the mother plant and pot it up or plant it in the garden.

Hydrangeas prefer moist partly sunny conditions. They’re good on the north and east sides of your home.

If you have other questions about your garden or landscape, feel free to contact a master gardener at the University of Illinois Extension office in Charleston at 217-345-7034. You can also check out the many horticulture webpages at the U of I Extension’s website by visiting And be sure to like the Master Gardeners’ new Facebook page, at

Hardwood Cuttings for Shrub & Tree Propagation

Spring and summer is when most people think about propagating garden plants, but caring for tender cuttings through the heat of summer can be challenging. Fortunately, a number of popular trees and shrubs can be rooted easily in the dormant season via hardwood cuttings and require much less attention.

A clean 3-gallon nursery container makes a good, portable container for these hardwood cuttings of crape myrtle.
Photo by S. Cory Tanner, Horticulture Extension Agent, Greenville County, Clemson Extension

Hardwood cuttings are made from mature, dormant stems that do not bend easily. Crape myrtles, grapes, and pomegranates all root well with this technique. The process to take hardwood cuttings begins in the fall right after the leaves drop. At that time, use sharp, clean pruners to take six-inch-long, pencil-diameter cuttings from vigorous shoots on the plants you want to propagate. If it is a tree or shrub that produces suckers from the stems or roots, use the suckers for your cuttings. Their increased vigor means that they will usually root and grow easier than cuttings taken from other areas of the plant. Also make note of which end is up; upside-down cuttings won’t root! It can sometimes be difficult to tell on a leafless cutting, but the leaf buds on the stem usually point upward. Keep cuttings moist and out of direct sunlight. If they dry out before being stuck they are much less likely to survive.

Hardwood cuttings of hardy plants like crape myrtle and forsythia may be stuck right away. But for plants prone to cold damage, like pomegranate and fig, take the cuttings right after the leaves drop and store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator through the winter and stick them in the early spring. These stored cuttings will generally root with greater vigor than fresh ones taken in the spring. If you do store cuttings, wrap them in a damp (not wet) paper towel inside of a plastic bag so that they don’t dry out and make sure they don’t freeze.

You may stick hardwood cuttings into beds of sand or even directly into garden soil, but I prefer to stick them in containers with a 50/50 mix of pine bark and horticultural perlite. However, any well-draining potting soil will work. Fill a clean 3-gallon nursery pot, or similar container with drain holes, two-thirds full with the soil mix and water to settle and remove large voids. Then stick the cuttings upright until only the upper two inches of the six-inch cutting are exposed.

Space cuttings about 2 inches apart. Ten to twelve cuttings should easily fit in the container. The cuttings need to stay cool so that they don’t sprout leaves too early, but don’t let them freeze either. Keeping them in an unheated garage or shed through the winter is ideal. Check on them periodically to ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out. Soggy soil, however, is equally problematic so make sure the container drains well. Once the danger of a hard freeze has passed, move the containers outside into a dappled sun area, such as, under a deciduous tree.

Rooting hormone was applied to the base of this fig cutting to improve rooting success. Insert the cutting into a pre-dibbled hole in the media gently to avoid removal of the rooting powder.
Photo by S. Cory Tanner, Horticulture Extension Agent, Greenville County, Clemson Extension

Rooting hormones, typically sold as powders, may improve rooting, particularly on harder to root plants. If using a rooting powder, dip the bottom 1-2 inches in the powder and tap the cutting to knock off any excess.

Pre-dibble a hole in the potting media with a pencil or stick that is only slightly larger in diameter than the cutting. Carefully insert the cutting to avoid rubbing the powder off and firm the soil around the cutting. Also, don’t water the cuttings right away as this will wash the hormone from the cutting and reduce its effectiveness.

Four to five inches of the cutting should be below the soil line, with the top inch or two of stem exposed. Maintain even soil moisture around the cuttings until rooting occurs.
Photo by S. Cory Tanner, Horticulture Extension Agent, Greenville County, Clemson Extension

Cuttings that survive and root should produce new leaves in the spring. Resist the urge to tug on them, as the new roots will be tender and easily damaged. Wait until you see healthy roots emerging from the container’s drain holes, then carefully remove the rooted cuttings from the container, separate, and repot into their own containers. Then share your new plants with friends and neighbors!

This well-rooted cutting of pomegranate is ready to be potted into a larger container.
Photo by S. Cory Tanner, Horticulture Extension Agent, Greenville County, Clemson Extension

Common Plants that Root from Hardwood Cuttings

Abelia Hydrangea
Blueberry Juniper
Boxwood Rose of Sharon
Crape myrtle Rose
Cryptomeria Spirea
Fig Tea Olive
Forsythia Weigela
Grape (Bunch and Muscadine) Willow
Honey Locust Viburnum

Propagating Hydrangeas

Rooting Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are fairly easy to root. Some people have rooted them in water, but many others (such as myself) have never been able to make this work.

Susan Park Cole sent us the picture to the right demonstrating that it is possible to root hydrangeas in water. Occasionally roots form when one leaves an arrangement in water for a long time. In my experience, though, this method fails more often than it succeeds.

Below are two fail-proof methods for rooting hydrangeas.

Rooting Hydrangea Cuttings in 5 Easy Steps

Take a cutting from a branch of the hydrangea shrub about 5-6″ long. Most experts say the cutting will work best if taken from a branch that did not flower this year.

Remove the lower leaves of the bottom two leaf nodes.(see pictures #3 and #4)

Cut largest leaves down to about half their size

Dip cuttings in rooting hormone (this is entirely optional) and insert into damp vermiculite, coarse sand or other sterile medium.

Water pot well and allow to drain. Make sure soil is moist but not soggy. Cover cuttings and pot with plastic. Try to keep plastic from touching leaves by adding stakes (#5) or

See some short-cut methods below sent to me by visitors to this site.
O.K., I admit I stuck three steps in number 5, but this really is simple.

TIPS: Place cuttings in bright light. NEVER PLACE NEW CUTTINGS IN THE SUN. They will cook in the plastic. And even if they are not in plastic, they should be placed in a bright shady area.

Do not water again until top of soil begins to feel slightly dry. Overwatering will cause cuttings to rot.

Expect cuttings to begin to form roots in 2-3 weeks depending on temperature (faster in warm weather) and humidity. Some cuttings root in as little as one week. If a tug on the cutting resists the pull, it is rooting.

Note on overwintering Cuttings

Getting cuttings through the first winter without a greenhouse is the hardest part of starting new hydrangeas from cuttings. Start new cuttings early in the summer to give them the best chance for surviving the winter.

While some people manage to take cuttings through the winter indoors, in general, this does not work well. Hydrangeas do best if grown outdoors. Here are two suggestions for getting cuttings through the winter:

(1) sink pots of cuttings into the ground and cover well with lightweight mulch.

(2) put smaller pots of cuttings next to a foundation and cover them with large clay pots for the winter.

Rooting Hydrangeas in a Cup

Carl Brady, an Ohio visitor to this site, sent pictures of the easy way he roots hydrangea cuttings. He says, “I have good luck starting cuttings using regular Styrofoam cups for the medium and a larger clear plastic cup for the top. It works just like a small green house.” (As most of you know, the word “medium” refers to the vermiculite, course sand, or other substance the cuttings are stuck into).

When cuttings are well rooted, Carl transplants them into a larger container (right). In this instance, the process was obviously very successful.

* * *

Another visitor to this site reports using a three liter coke bottle: “Cut the top part (or funnel plus a couple of inches) off a two or three liter bottle of cola. You can then place the bottle (funnel part) over the pot with the wider opening down. It works like a little greenhouse.”

* * *

Here is another suggestion from Eileen Ridge of Virginia. She says that when she read the instructions above for rooting hydrangeas she was overwhelmed with the idea of using stakes and plastic tents. She almost gave up until she saw the idea of rooting cuttings in cups submitted by Carl Brady above. Then she came up with a variation on the cup idea, and, for the first time she was able to root cuttings of her purple hydrangeas.

Eileen says “I love this concept because after setting up the cutting, watering it well, and letting the excess drain, the cap of the inverted container acts like a tray and allows for a little more drainage if necessary, and the container just pops down on the lid (I don’t screw it back together, I just leave it to rest there).”

Eileen has friends and neighbors lining up for the new purple hydrangeas. The world will be a better place.

Ground Layering Hydrangeas

This is a very easy method. I love it. However, one is limited to rooting only a few new plants at a time unless he/she has many hydrangeas.

To ground layer, select a branch close to the ground (or several).

Remove the leaves for about 5-6 inches at the spot where the branch touches the ground and scrape a little of the bark off the under-side of the branch in this area. Make sure at least one leaf node will be under the ground. The leaf node is where a leaf comes out of the branch and most roots will form.

Do not cut the branch off the mother plant. Dig a little trench about 2 inches deep and lower the branch into it and cover generously with soil (potting soil would be nice but is entirely optional).

. Put a brick or stone on the buried area so that it will stay under the soil. This also helps to hold the moisture around the branch. Keep it watered occasionally. When roots form, the branch can be removed from the mother plant, potted up and treated like a mature cutting.

Tip from Linde S. of North Carolina: Linda writes that when she ground layered a new hydrangea plant, the new branch would grow roots just fine. But after it was separated from the mother plant and potted up, it it often went into shock and would require a lot of TLC before it would start growing well again.

Then she discovered that if she added one extra step, the new little plant would recover and thrive much faster. Here is what she suggests: When the new branch, which is attached to the mother plant, is well-rooted, cut it off of the mother plant but leave it in the ground without disturbing it for a few more weeks, so it can become accustomed to growing on its own. Then transplant it. It will stay much healthier and be better able to thrive without the mother plant. I have tried this, and it really does work.

Pot Layering Hydrangeas

Tip from Anne of Corinth, MS: Anne writes that she, too, has a method that seems to decrease the shock of cutting the new hydrangea plant from the mother plant. Instead of burying the stem in the ground, as described above, she leaves the stem on the top of the ground and roots it in a pot. She describes it this way: “I cut the mature leaves off a long stem with bud nodes, nick the area at the node I want to root, and dust with rooting hormone. Then I slice a 5″-7″ pot about half way down opposite sides and lay the stem horizonal into the pot -into the slits on the side and cover with soil. Then months later (or even the next spring) I cut the mother lode loose and tear off the pot and put the new plant into the ground.”

Anne’s pictures of her Oakleaf hydrangea below demonstrate:

(1) The split pot with the stem, covered with soil, going in one side and out the other

(2) The pot with sides back in place

(3) The finished procedure.

To keep the soil in the pots moist, I would use potting soil, then water the soil in the pot well, and cover the pot with plastic. However, don’t use plastic if the pot will be in the sun. The cutting might cook it.

Propagate hydrangeas in 9 easy steps

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Last updated on 5 November 2018

With their old-fashioned charm, vibrant colours and large blooms, these flowers are hard to resist. Here’s how to propagate hydrangeas in nine easy steps


Growing hydrangeas from soft wood tip cuttings or semi-hard slips in summer is quick, easy and rewarding. The bonus? If you have a hydrangea with large bracts or great colour, any plant you propagate from it will have the same traits.


  • Take 15cm long cuttings from healthy hydrangea bushes selecting non-flowering, young green stems. It’s best to do this in the morning when the plants are well hydrated. Make the cut just above a node. Keep the cuttings in a cool place in a plastic bag until you’re ready to pot them up.
  • Use a suitable, free-draining but moisture-retaining commercial potting mix. Or make your own by mixing equal parts of moistened palm peat (obtainable from nurseries in compressed peat blocks) and coarse river sand or perlite. Moisten it before filling several clean, 8–10cm diameter pots.
  • Using a sharp blade, cut off all the leaves with the exception of the top pair of leaves surrounding the top bud.
  • Now recut the stems at a slight angle, just below the upper leaf node where you’ll see a pair of new buds developing in the axil of the stubs of the leaves you’ve just removed. If you want to propagate more plants, save the portion you’ve cut off and make similar cuts beneath and above each node.
  • Dip the end of the prepared cuttings in a hormone rooting powder or liquid specifically for semi-softwood cuttings and then tap to remove any excess.
  • Place each cutting in its own pot to a depth of about half the stalk and firm into place by pressing down the potting mix gently.
  • Water lightly.
  • Cover each pot with a plastic bag; you may need to put in some sort of support like a piece of wire coat hanger to prevent the plastic touching your cutting.
  • Secure the plastic bag with a piece of twine or an elastic band. Place the pots, on drip trays, in a shady, but bright place; never in the sun. Check periodically that the potting mix is moist; if not, water as necessary.

READ MORE: Growing bougainvilleas


Once the cuttings have begun to root, remove the plastic bag and water them when needed. This should be in about 3 – 4 weeks. Begin to feed the plants with a weak solution of Kelpak and Seagro or similar water-soluble fertiliser. Once the roots begin to emerge from the base of the pot, they’re ready to be planted into a larger pot until they’ve established a good root system and can then be planted out in the garden.

RELATED: Propagating plants


Hydrangea panticulata ‘Limelight’ can be propagated from softwood cuttings taken in the summer or from hardwood cutting taken in the winter. Softwood cuttings treated with rooting hormone will root readily in a sand:peat medium but must be carefully nurtured for until ready for planting the following year. The cuttings must be protected under a glass or plastic covering to maintain a moist atmosphere. Providing bottom heat with a heating pad promotes rooting.

Hardwood cuttings are more commonly used for propagating trees and shrubs. In autumn after the leaves have dropped cut several pieces of stem from the current years growth and trim to 10 – 30 cm (4in – 12in) with a bud at the base and a bud near the top cut. Dig a trench about the depth of your spade in an area sheltered from wind. If the soil is heavy mix in perlite or coarse sand with compost or peat moss and add a 2.5 – 5 cm (1in -2in)layer at the bottom of the trench. Place the cuttings vertically in the trench 7 – 10cm apart and fill in with amended soil so that 2/3 to 3/4 of the cuttings are covered. Tamp down with your foot and water and weed as required. Cuttings that come to the surface due to frost action should be pushed back down. You can transplant the best rooted cutting the following spring or autumn.

Panticulata hydrangeas are very hardy and of all the hydrangeas can best take a sunny location. They prefer full sun,but will thrive in a part shade location though they bloom best with at least 5 hours of sun per day. Hydreangeas like a good moist but well drained loamy soil. If your soil is heavy clay, you should amend it by adding ground pine bark. While they like a moist soil, if the soil is heavy you may have to monitor water to ensure that they do not become waterlogged as it may lead to root rot.

If you are unsure as to the variety of hydrangea you can check descriptions on the site below:

How to Propagate a Paniculata Hydrangea

Paniculata hydrangeas are beautiful plants with large blooms that can reach height of 25 feet and grow easily in a wide variety of soils. Propagating hydrangeas can be accomplished using different techniques. The most common and effective methods of propagating hydrangeas is by rooting cuttings from the plant or by using a ground layering method. Both take some patience but are rather simple.

Method 1: Rooting Cuttings

Take cuttings from a healthy paniculata hydrangea plant. Make cuttings that are 6 to 8 inches long, preferably from a branch that did not bloom. Remove the bottom leaves from the two leaf nodes at the bottom of the cutting. You may trim the larger leaves by cutting them in half.

Dip the severed end of the cutting in rooting hormone and insert it in a cup filled with moist vermiculite. You should perforate the bottom of the cup to ensure proper drainage. Firm the soil lightly around the cutting. The base two leaf nodes should be in the soil. Water until it drains out the bottom.

Cut the top of the 2-liter soda bottle below the spout, at the wide part of the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down and place it over the cutting and the cup. You now have a miniature green house.

Place the cutting in bright but indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist by watering every three days or whenever needed. Keep the cutting in the same cup until it grows big enough to be transplanted in a larger container or in your garden.

Method 2: Ground Layering

Choose an outside branch of the live paniculata hydrangea. Do not cut the branch. Pick off the leaves 10 inches from the base the branch. Scraping a little bark on the branch will also help, but leave the leaf nodes intact. Sprinkle the branch with rooting hormone.

Dig a 3-inch deep ditch long enough to accommodate the 10-inch section of the branch with the leaves removed from the leaf nodes and the area where the bark was scraped. Place the branch into the ditch, cover with soil and firm the soil.

Place a flat rock or cinder block on top of the surface of the soil where the branch is buried. Do not disturb the branch for two to three months.

Cut the branch from the donor plant when the new roots are well established. Do not remove the branch yet, but instead let it sit in place for about three more weeks to build strength. Then, you may carefully dig up the new plant and replant it in a large pot or somewhere else in your garden.

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