After publishing How to grow clematis from cuttings, I received several requests for more propagation tips including how to grow honeysuckle from existing vines. You obviously only want to do this with non-invasive honeysuckle that you actually want to have in your garden.
Honeysuckle is really easy to grow from cuttings. I’ll show you the steps with a few tips to ensure success.
I grow a deciduous variety of honeysuckle (Lonicera) and use softwood cuttings.
For best results:
- Use healthy, new growth from an existing vine (2+ years old).
- Take your cuttings in late spring or early summer.
- Early mornings are best for taking cuttings to ensure the vine is full of sap (and the cuttings won’t dry out too quickly).
Read all of the instructions first and then get your supplies ready so you can get the cuttings planted within minutes after removing them from the parent vine.
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- Potting soil + water
- Small flower pots (3-4″ wide) – one per cutting
- Clean, fine, sharp knife or cutters
- Clear plastic bags (to form greenhouse over pots)
- 1 elastic band per pot (to hold plastic bags shut)
- Rooting hormone
- Plant tags (noting date propagated and source plant) – I use popsicle sticks + pen
- Bamboo skewers (optional)
- Sharp scalpel or box cutter (optional)
- Fill each pot with moistened potting soil and press into place.
- For each new vine take a 6-8″ cutting from an existing vine (at least two years old). Make a slanted cut and be careful not to crush the stem when cutting.
- Remove any flowers.
- Clip the cutting with a clean, sharp knife right below a leaf node (the part of the stem where leaves grow) – shown as A in image below.
- Next, remove two sets of lower leaves – shown as B in image above.
This next step is probably not essential but I was taught to do it years ago and have carried on the tradition.
Only do this if you’re really steady with your hands.
- Scrape away a very fine outer layer of the stem. Do this on the bottom 2″ of stem, from the base to the next leaf node.
- Put a small of amount of rooting hormone in a clean dish.
- Dip the bottom 2″ of the stem in the rooting hormone. Tap away excess.
- When done, discard leftover rooting hormone.
- Use a skewer to form a hole in the potting soil and insert the stem 2″ deep (or to the second leaf node).
- After planting all the cuttings, I insert bamboo skewers into each pot. These keep the plastic bags from leaning on the cuttings.
- Place a plastic bag over each pot and secure them with elastic bands (around pots).
- Place in indirect sun. Make sure soil remains moist but not damp or dry. There should be some condensation on the inside of the bags.
- Roots should form within 2-3 weeks. Be really careful when you check: just tug slightly on a stem to see if it’s grabbing the soil.
- When new roots are at least 1″ long, your new plants are ready to be placed in larger pots or planted outdoors.