How to Take Cuttings From Plants and Trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Anyone can start a new plant by taking cuttings from existing plants or trees. Properly cut, nourished and cared for, a cutting will eventually grow roots, becoming a new plant in its own right.

Choose stems on healthy plants with new growth at their tips. This tender, young growth produces roots more easily than older cuttings on which the bark has begun to harden.

Make the cut just below a point where a single leaf or a set of leaves emerges from the stem. Roots will grow from this juncture, known as a "leaf node."

Take cuttings with at least three or four leaves or sets of leaves. After removing the lowest set of leaves, your cutting should have at least two leaves or sets of leaves to help the cutting stay alive until roots can form.

Insert cuttings into a pot filled with a soilless rooting medium, such as peat moss, coarse sand or perlite. Slip a plastic bag over the potted cuttings to create a greenhouse-like environment. This will help them root more easily.


Many more cuttings die than live, so start a larger number of cuttings than you think you'll need.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp garden clippers
  • Plant pot
  • Peat moss, coarse sand, perlite
  • Large plastic bag
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About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.