During the Victorian era, hydrangeas were thought to represent showiness or boastfulness. This was because while hydrangeas produce spectacular flowers, they rarely, if ever, produce seeds. This can create a problem for a gardener who wants to propagate hydrangea shrubs. Because of this, propagating hydrangeas is typically done from cuttings -- also referred to as "striking" in some places. Let's take a look at how to root cuttings from hydrangea bushes.
How to Propagate Hydrangeas from Cuttings
The first step for how to root cuttings from hydrangea is to select a stem for cutting. In early fall, choose a stem for hydrangea propagation that is at least 6 inches (15 cm.) long, has no flower, and is new growth. A new growth stem will be a lighter green than old growth. Also be aware that if you live in a colder climate where the hydrangea dies back to the ground, the whole shrub may consist of new growth Once you have selected a stem to propagate the hydrangea, take a sharp pair of shears and cut the stem off just below a leaf node. A leaf node is where a set of leaves will be growing. The hydrangea cutting should be at least 4 inches (10 cm.) long and should contain at least one additional set of leaves above the selected leaf node. Snip the cutting from the stem. Next, strip all but the topmost set of leaves from the cutting. The cutting should have only two leaves left. Cut the two remaining leaves in half crosswise (not lengthwise). If available, dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone. While rooting hormone will increase the chances of successfully propagating hydrangeas, you can still propagate hydrangea shrubs without it. Now, stick the cutting into damp potting soil. Cover the pot with a plastic bag, making sure that the bag does not touch the leaves of the hydrangea cutting. Place the pot in a sheltered location out of direct sunlight. Check the hydrangea cutting every few days to make sure the soil is still damp. In about two to four weeks, the cutting will be rooted and your hydrangea propagation will be complete. That is all you need to know about how to propagate hydrangeas. With a little effort and care, you can start propagating hydrangeas for your yard or for friends and family.
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Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.
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