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!
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