This is a basic method for taking cuttings from honeysuckle vines and root them for new plants. It is invasive in some areas, but, if you have a cultivar that is fine in your area, it’s a simple way to get free plants.
For more methods also see How to grow plants from seeds and cuttings.
Growing Honeysuckle from Cuttings
I grow a deciduous variety of honeysuckle (Lonicera) and use softwood cuttings to clone new plants.
Some cuttings root, others do not. It can be that the cutting you used is or is not ready to grow.
In other words, you might have all the conditions right but it’s not time for that particular plant.
Just keep trying and try lots.
I have batches where they all root and others where they all shrivel up and die.
But I keep trying because eventually some grow into lovely new plants.
For best results:
- Take your cuttings in late spring or early summer.
- Use healthy, new growth from an existing vine (2+ years old).
- Do not use a stem that is flowering. Better still, take cuttings before entire vine is flowering.
- Early mornings are best for taking cuttings to ensure the vine is full of sap (and the cuttings won’t dry out too quickly).
1 Gather Your Supplies
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.
Quick tip: It is possible to simply take a cutting (right below some leaves), place it in moist soil and get a good, rooted cutting in a few weeks.
These tips (below) may help if you feel you need more guidance.
- Potting soil + water
- Small flower pots (3-4″ wide) – one per cutting
- Clean, fine, sharp knife or cutters. My favourite is a scalpel.
- Clear plastic bags (to form greenhouse over pots unless your humidity is good / over 50%)
- 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 to get rid of any air pockets.
2 Take Your Cuttings
- 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.
3 Remove Some Skin from Base (Optional)
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.
4 Dip Stem in Rooting Hormone
- 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).
5 Add Plastic Bags (Optional)
You only need to create mini greenhouses over the pots if your air is dry. Mine is humid so it is not necessary.
Also, the bags can cause rot and mold, so only use them if you think your plants could dry out in your environment.
If you do want to use bags:
- Use a bamboo skewer in each pot to hold the upside-down plastic bags.
- Place a plastic bag over each pot. Position them so they are not touching the plant if possible.
Air flow is also important so either keep the bottoms open or open the bags each day for ventilation.
If you find the bags get a lot of condensation, keep them off.
7 Keep Soil Moist
- Place in indirect sun.
- Make sure soil remains moist but not damp or dry. There should be some but not excessive condensation on the inside of the bags. I know it’s hard to judge if you’re new to this. When in doubt, keep the bags off.
- Never let the soil dry out!
- 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.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
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