Propagate Fruit and Herbs from Cuttings

Willamette Valley, Oregon Zone 8b

Share the love!  Why not turn some of those pruning cuttings into new plants? Sharing with friends and neighbors is an excellent way to spread love in the world. Or organize a swap event and encourage people to bring their cuttings to exchange. Get to know your neighbors and help your neighbors get to know each other. I’m pretty sure this is how we achieve world peace. 

Fruit Propagation from Hardwood Cuttings

Grapes, blueberries, blackberrys, elderberries (you can also do softwood cuttings in the spring), figs, and roses too are all excellent candidates for propagation.

  • Leave three or so buds per cutting.
  • Plant cuttings (right side up, please) in potting soil and leave outdoors.  Roots will eventually emerge from the bottom bud. 
  • Expect about 50% success, so take more than you need.
  • Oregon native shrubs: Here is a great article on propagating native shrubs.
  • Rooting hormones are helpful but not required. 
  • Keep the soil cuttings moist. Tip: Cover your pots in white plastic sheeting to keep potting soil from desiccating during winter dry spells.

In the spring, they will wake up and put out leaves, then the roots will begin to form. I have had the most success with letting them stay in their pots all spring and summer. I wait until the fall-winter dormant season to transplant. Be sure to wash away the potting medium before transplanting in native soil. See my Guide for Planting Trees and Other Perennials for more tips. 

Propagate Herbs from Cuttings

Lavender Cuttings
Lavender Cuttings

I’ve heard that Portland chefs have been caught stealing herbs from people’s private yards. (Time Magazine Article) Amusing, but unnecessary. Herbs grow readily in our climate and are easy to propagate and care for. No amount of neglect, poor soil, or trimming seems to deter them. To get started, sous-chef-sneak into your neighbor’s yard and take a few cuttings of: rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage, oregano are excellent candidates for propagation. (Kidding! Please ask first.)

Strip off the bottom leaves and pop into the potting soil. Except for thyme, it’s a creeper so you can essentially place it on top of the dirt and it will put down roots wherever the stem contacts the soil.  That’s it. As with the other woody perennials, expect about 50% failure rate so propagate plenty.

More Information:

NC State Extension: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings

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