Hardwood cuttings are a simple and reliable way of producing new plants from deciduous climbers, trees and shrubs.

Hardwood cuttings take their name from taking a cutting from the more mature stems that are fully dormant and not showing any soft, green or active growth. It should be firm and not be able to bend easily.

Types of cuttings

There are different types of cuttings that can be split into the following categories:

Straight cutting

Easy to take and the best way to create new shrubs and trees. Always cut above a bud to encourage new growth and simply cut straight across the stem. Buddleja, Forsythia and viburnums are among the shrubs that will root from a straight cut.

Heel cutting

A heel cutting is where a small strip of the stem from the parent branch that you taking the cutting from is included for rooting. Pyracantha, rosemary and lavender are shrubs that can be very difficult to root but a heel cutting increases the odds greatly. Try a heel cutting if straight cutting is failing to root.

Mallet cutting

A mallet cut is similar to a heel cut but instead of just a slither of the stem a short amount of the parent branch on either side of the stem of about 0.5 – 1cm. Again, like heel cutting it can help to encourage rooting on difficult to encourage shrubs and is particularly good for mahonia.

How to encourage root growth on a cutting

All cuttings should be dipped in rooting hormone powder, available from garden centres and placed cutting side down in a pot with compost. Water well and cover in a clear plastic bag. Place cuttings somewhere warm and bright but out of direct sunlight.

When to take hardwood cuttings

The best time to take cuttings is in Autumn or early Winter after leaves have fallen and the shrub or tree is dormant. Cuttings should then be left for a year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Plants and shrubs

Splitting a Bleeding Heart plant

The bleeding heart plant can grow large after several years so splitting it is natural way to keep it’s size in check and to increase the number of plants you have, or to even share Read more…

Plants and shrubs

Bringing back the garden hedgerow

A garden hedgerow no longer has to be the neatly trimmed, uniform hedge that runs along the border of your garden. By carefully selecting differing hedges, mixing them up with some trees you can get Read more…


Plants to sow in January or February

The advantage of planting seeds early is that it gives them a chance to flower in the first year after sowing, a perfect way to add colour to your borders in the summer. Sow the Read more…