Root Cuttings Shrubs

Root Cuttings Shrubs, shrub division, bulb division, groundcover division

Root Cuttings Shrubs

Learn how to take root cuttings from select shrubs, how to store them and plant them for successful propagation.

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if you wish to obtain the maximum amount of plants for a shrubs, you should take some root cuttings. This method will give you the maximum amount of plants from a few plants.

All it takes is a few simple steps and without a lot of fancy or expensive equipment you can maximize the plant output from a few perennials.

Keep in mind that by using this method, it will take much longer for the plants to grow and reach maturity.

Root Cuttings Shrubs - Shrub Selection

Unfortunately not all shrubs are receptive to propagation by root cuttings.

Some of the shrubs that are, include:

Rose of Sharon's (Hibiscus syriacus cvs.) zones 5–9
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata and cvs.) zones 4–8
Figs (Ficus carica) zones 6–9
Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris cvs.) zones 4–8
Mock oranges (Philadelphus coronarius and cvs.) zones 4–9

For a complete list of root cutting shrubs, see the table at the end of this article.

Thriving Perennial Garden

Root Cuttings Shrubs - The Beautiful Rose of Sharon is Receptive to Root Cuttings

Root Cuttings Shrubs- Taking Shrub Cuttings

Yes, it is possible to take root cuttings from certain shrubs as well, it is a little different process that we use for woody plants though.

While we lift up the entire plant to take the root cuttings for perennials, it is far easier to just take a Garden Spade or a Garden Fork, and dig along one side of a shrub.

Unearth the roots by digging close to one side of the shrub. Trace the root back to the parent plant to make sure you have the correct one. Select a root that is long enough for you to make several cuttings of between 3" to 6" in length.

Look for young, vigorous roots. The key here of course is to select a living root and not a dead or black one.

Since the roots of shrubs can get rather large and woody, you should search for young, vigorous roots about the size of a pencil.

Make your cut with your Felco Pruning Shears and make your first cut close to the parent plant. This can be a straight cut.

Your next cut should be a diagonal one, which will be the bottom of the cutting. This way you can maintain the original orientation of the root when it's planting time. The reason for this is that the plant will produce betting roots and new shoots if oriented in the same direction.

Now nip off the diagonal on the next cutting, move down another 3 to 6" and make another diagonal cut - and so on....

After taking the cuttings, cover the exposed roots. Then water the area thoroughly to remove large air pockets in the soil and settle the roots back into their home.

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Decide How Many Divisions You Would Like

Root Cuttings Shrubs - Hydrangeas a Shrub That is Receptive to Root Cuttings

Root Cuttings Shrubs - Cutting Storage

Now take the cuttings from your shrubs and tie them is a loose bundle. Make sure that you group all the the diagonal cuts in the same orientation.

Dig a hole that will be below the frost level in your area. Place a couple of inches of loose sand in the bottom of the hole to give the roots good drainage and prevent root rot from forming form poor drainage.

Now place the bundle with the diagonal cuts downward in the sand in the hole and refill the hole.

Be sure to clearly mark the hole with a wooden stake and permanent dry marker to identify the species of plant that is in this location. It is best to locate the stake directly above the cuttings so you do not damage them when you dig them up.

Decide How Many Divisions You Would Like

Root Cuttings Shrubs - Prepare Cuttings For Underground Storage

Root Cuttings Shrubs - Planting

I would say the minimum length of time the cuttings should be stored in the ground is about a month.

They can be left buried for a much longer period of time if the weather in your area will not permit you to plant them.

When you unearth the cuttings, don't be surprised if you see new root growth and occasionally you will even see new sprouts coming from the cuttings.

Remember, by making cuttings in the plant's dormant period you are taking the roots that have the highest energy of the entire year so they are just bursting with strength to push out new root growth and even new shoots.

What is you don't see any new growth? I would recommend you still proceed with planting. You may be dealing with a plant that remains in dormancy for a longer period of time that usual.

Next prepare their permanent location in the border. Loosen up the garden soil with a garden spade or garden fork. This is essential for the young tender roots.

Now unwrap the cuttings and set them in the prepared garden soil at about 18" o.c. with the straight cuts facing downward or about 2" into the soil.

Be sure to tie off the area with some posts and string to prevent the tender shoots from damage.

Keep the area well-watered but not soggy.

Root Cuttings Shrubs- Tips:

Avoid cutting more than about 1/3 of the plants roots from the parent plant. Since this is were all of the stored energy is for new spring growth, we don't want to put too much stress on the plant.

Plant the cuttings taken nearest the parent plant vertically in the prepared soil mix. As you have cuttings that move away from the parent plant, plant them at an angle.

Root Cuttings Shrubs - Plant Table

Here are some common shrubs that are receptive to Root Cuttings:

Common Name Botanical Name
Figs Ficus carica
Glory bowers Clerodendrum
Hydrangeas Hydrangea paniculata
Lilacs Syringa vulgaris
Mock oranges Philadelphus coronarius
Oregon grapehollies Mahonia aquifolium
Pussy willow Salix discolor
Raspberry Rubus biflorus
Red and yellow-twig dogwoods Cornus stolonifera
Rose of Sharons Hibiscus syriacus
Roses, nongrafted types Rosa
Sumac Rhus typhina
Trumpet vine Campsis radicans
Weeping willow Salix babylonic