Propagate Hydrangea Cuttings {99% Success Rate!}

Propagate Hydrangea cuttings in 2 easy steps! Multiply beautiful Hydrangeas for free in 2 weeks. Start rooting plants with a FAIL PROOF propagation secret!

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!

Propagate Hydrangea cuttings in 2 easy steps! Multiply beautiful Hydrangeas for free in 2 weeks. Start rooting plants with a FAIL PROOF propagation secret!

Hydrangeas are a timeless favorite flowering shrub in English gardens and farmhouse country gardens. They also make great gifts for friends who love to grow flowers!

Yes we could each buy 50 varieties of Hydrangea flower plants, or get together with some gardening friends to trade and propagate Hydrangea cuttings!

Hydrangea cuttings for propagation

* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .

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

When is the best time to propagate Hydrangea cuttings?

beautiful white and blue Hydrangea flowers in garden: Hydrangea macrophylla, and  Hydrangea arborescens

The best time of year to take Hydrangea stem cuttings is from spring when the plant is leafing out, to late summer when the leaves are still lush and green. If you live in a warm winter climate such as coastal California, you can even propagate Hydrangeas in early fall.

Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs, so it’s best to propagate them and give them some time to develop roots before they go dormant in winter.

Step 1: How to take Hydrangea cuttings

How to take Hydrangea cuttings

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

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

How to Propagate Hydrangeas from cuttings

Choose 3″ to 5″ long tender green stems, aka softwood cuttings, which will root more quickly and easily than woody stems. Use a pair of sharp clean pruners or scissors to cut just below a leaf node. The Hydrangea cuttings should each have at least 3 sets of leaf nodes – see photo above.

Trimmed all lower leaves until you get to the top set of 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.

cut leaves off Hydrangea stems

If you are propagating large leaf Hydrangea varieties with leaves 3″ across or larger,  trimming the remaining 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.

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Step 2: How to propagate Hydrangea cuttings

I have found that rooting hormone powder does speed up propagation quite a bit.

root Hydrangea plants  easily using rooting hormone powder

If you don’t use any rooting powder or gel, no worries, it will just take a little longer. Hydrangea cuttings are so easy to root, especially if you use the “tent” secret shown later. πŸ™‚

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 powder.

plant Hydrangea cuttings in pot with soil

I usually keep the bag open for a few hours to let moisture evaporate, and close the bag with the remaining rooting 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.

Hydrangea cuttings in DIY plastic bin humidity tent

As you see in the photos above, the goal is to bury at least 1 set, preferably 2 sets of nodes in the soil. Nodes and stems are where new roots will be growing out of!

There are several good rooting medium choices. to propagate Hydrangea cuttings. Seed starter soil mix or a good potting soil are both good to use.

Propagated new Hydrangea cuttings with roots

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.

My favorite propagation secret: boost success with a simple humidity tent!

Propagate Hydrangea cuttings in  clear plastic bin with lid! This acts like a humid dome / mini greenhouse.

A big 18″ tall clear plastic bin with lid! This acts like a humid dome / mini 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.

Hydrangea cuttings growing roots

IMPORTANT: Keep the bin and / or cuttings in a bright warm place out of direct sunlight. Direct sun will make the tent too hot and kill the plants.

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 these new plants in the garden or a bigger container out of direct sunlight.

Keep the newly planted cuttings well watered for the first 2 weeks. Once the new plants are more established, they will require less care. Hydrangeas love dappled shade and moist soil.

grow Hydrangeas from cuttings

Some morning sun is totally fine for established plants. In more cloudy climates like Pacific northwest, Hydrangea shrubs can be planted in full sun. But they still do best in at least some afternoon shade.

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.

One more great propagation method

beautiful light pink Hydrangeas in garden

Big thank you to our reader Fran! This is a great way to propagate Hydrangeas and many garden plants such as Lavender, Jasmine etc, if they are in your garden ( or your friend’s garden of course!)

Here’s what Fran shared with us: “I have just layed a lower branch from my Hydrangia bush in the ground. I laid it about half the height of the branch in the ground then covered it with the soil. I then added a small stone to weight it down in the middle Waterered frequently to keep it moist. When it rooted I just cut the end of the cutting off to the new roots and planted it. Worked like a charm every time!

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

Detailed guide on how to grow healthy Coleus: sun, shade, water, and soil requirements, and how to propagate Coleus from cuttings easily in 2 ways! Plus beautiful Coleus varieties and inspirations on how to use them in a garden. - A Piece of Rainbow
A guide on how to propagate and grow Coleus!

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

DIY bubble paint Hydrangeas | A Piece of Rainbow

May your days be filled with hydrangeas! xo

64 Comments

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  1. Love this. Information. I have just layed a lower branch from my Hydrangia bush in the ground. I laid it about half the height of the branch in the ground then covered it with the soil. I then added a small stone to weight it down in the middle Waterered frequently to keep it moist. When it rooted I just cut the end of the cutting off to the new roots and planted it. Worked like a charm every time!

    • Hi Fran! thank you for sharing! i am going to add your tips to the post!
      i love the layering and air-layering methods, they would be my first choice if the plant is in my garden! πŸ™‚

  2. Help! I live in NC, 7b. It’s been a very hot week. Followed instructions, outside in full shade. Now my cuttings have wilted over the side of the pot. I have checked them daily to make sure the soil is moist. It’s been 4 days and the have not perked back up. Is there anything I can do to save them or what am I doing wrong?

    • hi jenny! if the temperature is hot like in the 90s, the cuttings might have been stressed. also be sure it’s a shady spot all day. sometimes we may think a spot is full shade but it can get sun at one point during the day, and that will cause the cuttings to wilt. you can try moving them inside and put a plastic bag over them. or start with some new cuttings. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Jenny. I had the same issue, drooping stems. I have read to leave them go for a week or two and they should straighten up. Mine are in a bin and I mist them every other day, they have all recovered.

  3. My grandmother taught me this method years ago and it does work. We had a hydrangea bush and I took 13 cuttings. Left 1 leaf, used no rooting powder, just stuck them in the ground. 12 of the thirteen took! Have successfully done this with Turk’s Cap and Hibiscus as well.

  4. Thanks for the tips! Last summer I tried propagating several stems and a pot, and the all survived the winter and are coming back this spring! I’m ready to transplant them into the ground, but I’m curious how many I can plant in a single hole, since they are still small. Also, since they are small, how far apart I should plant them…..any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!!

    • hi Madalyn! i would plant one per hole, and space the plants at 2′-3′ apart with good soil mix in each hole. they grow fast. mature plants can be spaced at 4’to 6′ apart depending on variety. πŸ™‚

  5. Your post was extremely helpful. I started with 12 cuttings and know about 8 are rooted because they have new green leaves. Most of the green growth comes from the nodes just below the soil surface rather than the tip end of the cutting. Some are about 1 inch tall and some over 2 inches. My problem is that even the small ones now have flower buds on them. Should I cut these off so they will not starve the roots and leaves? Thank you very much.

    • hi Geraldine! yes i think it’s a good idea to cut off the flower buds on really small plants that are just rooted in the first year! after a couple more months you can leave a few flowers to enjoy them! πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for these detailed instructions! When you are finally ready to plant I in the ground, are you planting one root system in order for it grow into a mature bush? Or are you taking the whole container with multiple roots and planting them together to grow into a mature bush?

    • hi! yes it’s a good idea to plant one root system for it grow into a mature bush. you can also separate the rooted cuttings into small pots first, let them grow a bit more for a few weeks, then plant them in the garden! πŸ™‚

  7. Hello! Mid August in zone 6 (Ohio)! I have a feeling after 4-6 weeks and planting, with our winters,they won’t make it. Once I brought them in,what temperature would be ok? I don’t get much sun indoors as we have several mature trees around our home,so that’s a definite concern as well and finally how often should I water the cuttings? Great post!

    • hi Robyn! you can plant them in pots and bring them in for the first winter. bright spot without direct sun is ok. water once every 2 weeks as they will go dormant in winter. πŸ™‚

  8. I am a floral designer at a supermarket and people are constantly asking how to grow everything…we do sell Hydrangea plants but we also sell hydrangeas 3 to a package…I think I’m going to purchase a package myself to see if I can get a plant to grow using the technique you posted…thanks SO MUCH!

  9. This is my first time to do anything with a plant! I followed your instructions and have them in the plastic bin. Do they need air in there? Like holes? Thanks :).

    • hi Christy! most bins are not super airtight so they are fine. you can leave the lid loosely covered or prop it slightly. i just close the lid like normal. πŸ™‚ happy propagating!

  10. This is my first time to do anything with a plant. I followed your instructions, but I’m not clear on where I should put them while they are rooting? Outside? Inside? My house is cold inside and I don’t get much direct sunlight at all inside. I’m in Atlanta.

  11. Hey- I live in zone 8 (western Washington). If I take cuttings in may or June, when could I expect to plant them in the ground? Or should they remain in pots for a significant time? (Like till next spring).
    If they remain in pots, how do you recommend caring for them while they are dormant? Our winters are mild with occasional intense weeks of sudden extreme colds and winds.

    Thanks for the tips!

    • hi Amy! you can plant them in September, or about a month after roots have grown. πŸ™‚ in the first winter, if it gets unusually cold, just add some extra mulch to protect the young plants!

  12. You wrote to place in an 18″ clear plastic bin with top. What would that be? I got lost at that point.

    Thanks,

    Ronda

  13. Hi! Do you know if it’s possible to root cuttings from a bouquet? I love the white hydrangeas at Trader Joe’s, and thought it might be nice to propagate a new plant from those if it’s possible. Any guidance would be much appreciated! πŸ™‚

    • hi! are the cuttings from healthy plants, and put in water right away after being cut? October is also a bit late in season to propagate Hydrageas because they are going dormant soon. πŸ™‚

  14. Regarding Joe’s question (August 12) and your answer to him, what do you mean when you say they will go dormant when kept indoor in winter? I too have some cuttings that are ready for planting, but since this is late in season, and this is Ottawa Canada, I need to know the best way to keep these cuttings alive for next Spring when I can plant them out in the garden. They are in small pots now and in a covered plastic bin outside (9” x 13β€œ x 12” high), same bin I used to root the cuttings. When I bring them in, early October, do I keep the pots in the covered bin, simulating a terrarium, until next Spring? This is my first time with hydrangea cuttings and I really want to still have them in the Spring. I live in Zone 3.b. Thank you for all your good advices.

    • hi terry, hydrangeas go dormant and lose all the leaves, so they will look like sticks till spring. you can keep them inside like other potted plants, not need for coverings, if they rooted already. then you can set them out in garden in spring πŸ™‚

  15. I just took about 2 dozen cuttings of mop head hydrangeas. Rooting hormone, draining cups, and they’re in their own green house bins. I am worried about them making it through the winter months. I live in southern maine but it gets very cold here. Should I bring them inside near a window come October when the temperature starts to drop?? What do you reccomend

    • hi Joe! yes I would keep they in small pots like indoor plants through the winter. they will go dormant then leaf out in spring. just don’t let the soil gets too dry or soggy. πŸ™‚

  16. I just took cuttings. If you ‘tent’ them, is that tent (box) kept outside or inside? It is August right now, and the temperature is in the 70s this week.

  17. We live in north Georgia, zone 7B. What are your thoughts on planting newly rooted stems in mid August vs. keeping them in the basement and planting in the Spring? When they go dormant, it seems their ability to recover when transplanted diminishes.

    Thanks!

    • hi Ron, you can plant them in the ground in August. i would protect them a little bit with row cover or straw on really cold days during the first winter. πŸ™‚

  18. When I wanted to propagate Hydrangeas, I cut branches and left 1 leaf. Then, I just planted each branch 3 – 4 feet apart. Did this with 13 and 12 grew successfully. My grandmother who had a green thumb taught me this method. It also works well with Turk’s Caps and Hibiscus.

    • thank you Julie! πŸ™‚ it’s definitely easier in some climates. in dry places like SoCal and Arizona, we will need to pamper those cuttings!

  19. I want to propagate some cuttings from my garden hydrangeas using your method. Since I live in a zone 3-4 area, can I overwinter these cuttings inside to plant next Spring?

    • hi mary, yes you can keep the rooted cuttings inside for their first winter before planting them in the ground in spring. keep them watered and good luck! =)

    • It is winter here in wa…well…late fall…and I have access to some beautiful hydrangeas right now, to take cuttings from. Any chance of this working this time of year?

      • hi! it is very possible πŸ™‚ ! the only challenge is that the cuttings may go dormant throught the winter, but if they grow roots, just keep them in a warm place and watered, they should come back in spring.

  20. I am pinning this post! I am growing hydrangeas for the first time ever this summer. I have two little flower heads that I am waiting to bloom any day now. I would love to grow more!

  21. Those are one of my favorite flowers. You captured their beauty so elegantly. Loved all the tips and especially the pictures.

  22. Hydrangeas are gorgeous! I’ve done a similar process with a few of the plants and flowers we have in our garden. I’ll have to see if those can handle the South Texas heat.

  23. This post was super informative! I’m a new gardener (if you could even call what i have a garden, haha), so these tips are really useful for me. Now I just have to find a friend with hydrangeas . . .