Here's how to successfully root Hydrangea cuttings in just five easy steps: 

  1. Take a cutting from a branch of the hydrangea shrub about 5-6" long. Most experts say the cutting will work best if taken from a branch that did not flower this year.
  2. Remove the lower leaves of the bottom two leaf nodes. The leaf node is where a leaf comes out of the branch. Most roots will form at that point.
  3. Cut largest leaves down to about half their size
  4. Dip cuttings in rooting hormone (this is entirely optional) and insert into damp vermiculite or sterile medium.
  5. Water pot well and allow to drain. Make sure soil is moist but not soggy. Cover cuttings and pot with plastic. Try to keep plastic from touching leaves by adding stakes.

O.K., I admit I stuck three steps in number 5, but this really is simple.

TIPS: Place cuttings in a bright shady area. NEVER PLACE NEW CUTTINGS IN THE SUN. They will cook in the plastic.

Do not water again until top of soil begins to feel dry. Overwatering will cause cuttings to rot.

Expect cuttings to begin to form roots in 2-3 weeks, depending on temperature (faster in warm weather) and humidity. Some cuttings root in as little as one week. If a tug on the cutting resists the pull, it is rooting. Reminder-reproduction of trade marked or patented plants may be prohibited.

GROUND LAYERING

I love this very easy method. However, you are limited to rooting only a small number of new plants at a time unless you have many hydrangeas.

Select a branch close to the ground (or several).

Remove the leaves for about 5-6 inches at the spot where the branch will touch the ground when you gently bend it down. Scrape a little of the bark off the underside of the branch in this area. Make sure at least one leaf node will be under the ground.

Do not cut the branch off the mother plant. Dig a little trench about two inches deep and lower the branch into it and cover generously with soil. Put a brick or stone on the buried area so that it will stay under the soil. This also helps to hold the moisture around the branch. Keep it watered occasionally. When roots form, cut the branch from the mother plant and pot it up or plant it in the garden.

Hydrangeas prefer moist partly sunny conditions. They’re good on the north and east sides of your home.

If you have other questions about your garden or landscape, feel free to contact a master gardener at the University of Illinois Extension office in Charleston at 217-345-7034. You can also check out the many horticulture webpages at the U of I Extension’s website by visiting http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/ . And be sure to like the Master Gardeners’ new Facebook page, atwww.facebook.com/ColesCountyMasterGardeners.

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