How To Propagate Cuttings From Your Mature Plants

When the vigorous growing season starts to slow down and our attention turns to bringing our outdoor plants inside, it’s a perfect time to propagate.

Hibiscus 'Chad'

Look at all the lush green foliage, perfect for cuttings.


Our hibiscus grower, Kory shows the difference between a soft growth cutting and a more mature or woody growth cutting.

Kory, Logee's hibiscus grower.

Kory, our hibiscus grower, propagating his cuttings.


He first sterilizes his pruning shears with isopropyl alcohol.

Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is sprayed on the pruning shears which helps cut down on plant disease.


Then, he takes soft growth cuttings and woody growth cuttings.

Soft growth, Woody growth

Soft growth on the left, woody growth on the right.


Although, he uses both, his success rate is better with the woody growth cuttings. However, if the soft growth cuttings root, they are just as vigorous.

Soft to woody growth

A close up of a cutting that has woody growth on the bottom with soft growing tips.


Next, he dips his cuttings in a rooting hormone or root gel.

Root gel or rooting hormone

Root gel or rooting hormone is used to help form a callus. Callus is needed before new roots can form.


Once the cutting is dipped into the rooting hormone, then it is put into the oasis tray.

A cutting covered with rooting hormone.


Cutting off some of the foliage helps reduce the stress on the new plant trying to form but also leaving some of the leave allows just enough chlorophyll to support the new growth.

Leaf cuttings in an Oasis tray.

The leaves are cut and the sticks put into an oasis tray.


Kory has a full tray of hibiscus cuttings and about 90 percent of the cuttings will form roots and grow into viable plants.

Kory and a full tray of hibiscus cuttings.

Kory and a full tray of hibiscus cuttings.


SUCCESS! Measured by the amount of white healthy roots.

Roots formed in the oasis

After several weeks, roots form in the oasis.

This new plant will be upsized into a 2.5 inch pot and will leaf out in about 3-4 weeks.


We propagate over 1000 varieties of plants at Logee’s. Here is another popular category. Geranium (Pelargonium ‘Empress of Russia’) pictured here has many cuttings waiting to be harvested.

Geranium (pelargonium) 'Empress of Russia'

'Empress of Russia' is one of many geraniums that we propagate.


Our geranium grower, Roger takes cutting at the end of our growing season to produce more plants.

Roger propagates our geraniums

Roger propagating our geraniums


For the home gardener, if you are limited on indoor growing space, we recommend taking cuttings as a great way to down size your plant and winter it over as a small plant.

Whether doing a 72 plug tray or one single pot, remember to water the soil medium before sticking the cutting.

72 plug tray

Watering the 72 plug tray in preparation for the geranium cuttings.


Again, we dip the cutting end into a rooting hormone to assist the process of propagation and then stick it in its growing tray.

Geranium cuttings

Geranium cuttings in a 72 plug tray.

After several weeks, roots will appear and you can upsize the plug into a 2.5 inch pot.



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7 responses to “How To Propagate Cuttings From Your Mature Plants

  1. Is it better to cut a mature plant back before bringing it in or just take cuttings from it. I hate to waste the whole entire mature plant. When would be good time to start bringing tropicals in for the winter? I live in zone 6b.

    • If you have the space, by all means cut back your mature plant and bring it inside. Remember, you will have to watch out for bugs and pests from growing it outside all season. You could spray the leaves with water as a preventative measure and then bring inside. Bringing tropicals inside is dependent on what the lowest temperature your plant can take. For example, if you are growing citrus outside, it can take the temperatures down into the high 30’s and low 40’s for a night or two. But yes, it is time to start moving in tropicals once it gets o be regularly below 50’s for most plants.

  2. Linda Simpson


  3. great blog.please tell me how to grow wild rice

  4. Sharon Howell

    Thank you for info, am I understanding, you used oasis in the first tray and potting soil in the second tray? I am new to propagating and have not had very good luck. Should I start them in the trays then move them to the small pots? I have been trying to propagate using the small pots.

    Again thank you

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