There are a wide variety of plants that do very well when grown from cuttings, and growing plants in this way is an amazing and very fulfilling strategy for filling your garden with lush flowers, herbs and other plants without spending a dime on seeds or potted plants and flowers. Whether you plan to start with cuttings from your own plants, or choose to swap cuttings with a neighbor whose garden is equally as beautiful, plants grown in this way can take a lot of the hassle out of the gardening and planting process.
One of the wonderful aspects of this type of gardening is that the plant produced from a cutting has the same genetic maturity as the parent plant. In other words, if a plant typically takes three years to produce fruit when it’s grown from seed, a plant grown from a cutting will be mature if the parent plant is, so a new plant produced from a cutting of a three year old plant will fruit in the same year. This saves a lot of waiting around and translates to a lot of color and bounty in your garden.
Plant cuttings are grouped into four main categories: softwood, greenwood, semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings. Below we will highlight and explain the best plants to grow from each of these categories of cuttings.
Best Plants to Grow from Softwood Cuttings
Softwood cuttings are taken during the growing season, when the plants have leaves and fresh new growth—usually in the spring or summer. An important consideration to note about these types of cuttings is that you will need to maintain the proper humidity levels until the roots begin to form to prevent the cuttings from drying out. Dogwood plants do very well from softwood cuttings, as do the following plants:
- Aster. A flower in the family known as Asteraceae, the Aster is a beautiful flowering plant that includes roughly 600 species in North America.
- Butterfly Bush. A plant known for rooting very well from softwood cuttings, the Butterfly Bush is a variation of milkweed found mostly in the eastern part of North America.
- Chrysanthemum. Sometimes shortened to just “mums,” the Chrysanthemum can be found in a variety of vibrant colors, including red, pink, lavender, gold, bronze, white, off-white, purple and burgundy.
- Hydrangea. Another plant that does very well with softwood cuttings, the Hydrangea has beautiful flowers that bloom on what is called “old wood,” or branches that are a year or more in age.
- Rose. A flower that needs no introduction, the Rose, from the genus Rosa, comes in over 300 varieties and thousands of cultivars. It produces gorgeous flowers of all colors—red, white, yellow, lavender, etc.—and usually has a prickly or thorny stem.
- Salvia. Typically producing lively flowers of a scarlet color, the Salvia plant has flowers that can also be colored lavender, purple, pink, burgundy, orange, white and salmon.
Best Plants to Grow from Greenwood Cuttings
Also known as herbaceous cuttings, greenwood cuttings are those that are cut from plants with non-woody stems. All annual plants, for example, are herbaceous because their stems are non-woody. Here are just a few of the plants that do well from greenwood cuttings:
- Boxwood. These beautiful shrubs look great in any garden space. They are known for their rounded compact growth and leaves of a light-green color. Boxwood plants come from the genus known as Buxus, which includes about 70 different species of plants that are native to western and southern Europe.
- Dahlia. With over 30 species and over 20,000 cultivars, the Dahlia plant is well represented throughout the world. These bushy, herbaceous plants are native to Mexico and closely related to the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum and zinnia.
- Gardenia. Sporting gorgeous white flowers, the Gardenia is a genus of flowering plants that is related to the coffee family.
Best Plants to Grow from Semi-Hardwood Cuttings
Semi-hardwood cuttings can best be described as those which are semi-ripe, tougher and more mature than those of the two previous categories, although not quite as tough as hardwood cuttings. These cuttings are typically taken from mid-summer to autumn, and can best produce plants such as:
- Azalea. One of the more popular flowering plants in the United States, Azalea shrubs, from the genus Rhododendron, bloom beautiful flowers in the spring that can last for several weeks.
- Camellia. Known for their very large, colorful and vibrant flowers, the Camellia bush can be grown throughout North America, although it is native to Asia.
- Honeysuckle. These arching ornamental shrubs are native to the Northern Hemisphere. In North America, the plant grows flowers whose nectar is a known attractant to hummingbirds.
Best Plants to Grow from Hardwood Cuttings
Hardwood cuttings are those that are taken during the winter months, during dormancy, when all the leaves have fallen from the plant. Plants that typically do well with hardwood cuttings include:
- Deciduous Shrubs. Some of the more notable deciduous shrubs that can be grown from hardwood cuttings include dogwoods, Japanese maple plants, hydrangeas, lilacs, Staghorn sumacs, Weigelas, and more.
- Climbing Plants. Most of the climbing plants, such as ivy and other vines, do very well from hardwood cuttings.
- Fruits. Some fruit plants can also be grown from hardwood cuttings, particularly gooseberry plants.
- Trees. Due to their wooded stem, almost all trees can be grown from hardwood cuttings—and almost all thrive from this style of planting.
- In addition to the plants mentioned above, there are several other plant varieties—varieties that fall into one or more of the four categories above—that produce well from cuttings. Some of these plants include the dianthus plant—a plant that is also known as “pinks” and belongs to the carnation family; geraniums—a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial, and perennial plants that are commonly known as the cranesbills; and rosemary—a woody, perennial herb that is often used in cooking.