How to propagate hydrangea with cuttings

Propagating hydrangea shrubs from a cutting is an excellent and easy way to increase the number of hydrangea shrubs you have in your landscape design. I have started several cuttings to create a small edge. Pictured above is mophead hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).


Sterilize clippers with a 50/50 solution of water and alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Wipe dry with newspaper or paper towel. By sterilizing the clippers, you reduce the potential of spreading plant disease from prior use of the clippers.

For each cutting, fill a flower pot with new potting soil. Use a pot at least 5 inches in diameter.

Collect cuttings

Gather cuttings in late spring or early summer and in the morning when the stems are most hydrated. Gather as many 6-inch cuttings as desired. Take the cuttings from the tip of stems and just below leaf nodes. Remove all but two or three leaves from the tip of the stem. 
Setting the hydrangea cuttings in pots
Transfer a small amount (less than ¼ teaspoon for each stem) of rooting hormone powder to a saucer, small cup or a jar lid. Dip the tip of the cutting into water and then dip the stem tip into the rooting hormone.

Use your finger to make a hole straight down in the center of the potting soil. Make the hole about 1 ½ inches deep. Place the cutting into the hole and then water around the cutting to settle the soil.

Care of cuttings
Place the pot with cutting in indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist. The cutting will root in about three months and could be planted in the fall. I prefer to keep my cuttings in the pot until the following spring to give the roots more time to grow. If keeping the potted hydrangea cutting over winter, place the pot on the south side of the house.
Same cutting four months later

Same hydrange cutting after 14 months with
a sister plant prepared at the same time
Planting the rooted cutting

Plant rooted cuttings in the fall, late spring or early summer. Choose a well-drained location with morning sun and afternoon shade. Select a location with room for the hydrangea shrub to expand as it grows, which could be 4 to 5 feet. Dig the hole as deep as the flower pot is tall and twice as wide as the flower pot. Remove the rooted cutting from the flower pot and set in the center of the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the surrounding ground. Add or remove soil from the bottom of the hole if necessary. Back fill with the soil removed from the hole. Water around the root ball.

Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch, like leaf mold or pine chips, around the shrub. Mulch helps block weed growth and helps to retain moisture. Water about every 10 days if there is no rainfall. The shrub may need watering for two years. After that time, rainfall alone should be sufficient.