How to take cuttings from a red tip photinia

Updated February 21, 2017

Red tip photinia (Photinia x fraseri) is named for the bright red growth that appears every spring. The red leaves mature to deep green after two to four weeks. Clusters of white blooms appear on red tip photonia in mid-spring, and by summer are replaced by red berries. Red tip photinia is a hardy plant with a moderate growth rate that will grow in nearly any well-drained soil. Propagate red tip photinia by taking hardwood cuttings while the plant is dormant in late fall, winter or early spring.

Clean a pair of pruning shears with a mixture of 1 part household bleach and 9 parts water. Clean tools will reduce the possibility of transmitting bacteria to the red tip photinia cuttings.

Cut a long, straight shoot from the lower part of the red tip photinia. Shoots growing up from the ground or in the centre of the shrub are best. The shoots should be approximately the diameter of a pencil

Cut each shoot into several smaller pieces about 6 inches in length. Each shoot should have a minimum of two nodes, which are the points where a leaf or bud emerges. Cut the bottom of each shoot -- the part that was nearest the ground -- at a 45-degree angle. The top of the shoot should be cut straight across. Cutting the shoot this way is important, as it will let you know which end should be planted in the soil.

Strip off any leaves that remain on the bottom half of each cutting -- the cutting with the slanted end. Dampen the bottom inch of each shoot, then dip the bottom of the shoot in powdered rooting hormone.

Fill a planting container with a planting mixture of half garden soil and half sand or perlite. Avoid using garden soil alone, as garden soil will become compacted and won't drain well. Use a container that will hold at least 1 gallon. The container must have a drainage hole in the bottom. Moisten the planting mixture.

Plant the red tip photinia cuttings in the planting mixture, with the angled end of the cutting planted in the soil. One or two nodes should be buried in the soil and the remaining nodes should be above the soil. Avoid crowding the cuttings, as all the cuttings require sunlight and air.

Place the container outdoors where the cuttings will be protected from freezing temperatures, cold wind and direct sunlight. Rain won't harm cuttings planted in containers with good bottom drainage. Alternatively, place the container in a humid, cool place indoors.

Keep the potting mixture damp, but not soggy. Plant the young red tip photinia shrubs in their permanent homes the following autumn.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Household bleach
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Planting container with drainage hole
  • Garden soil
  • Sand or perlite
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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.