Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Propagate Hydrangeas

Hello All!

Today I wanted to show you a trick for easily propagating hydrangeas. This is the time of year hydrangeas are getting trimmed back, so perfect timing to get cuttings to propagate!

First step is to get a cutting of a hydrangea. In our current place we don't have a hydrangea but our neighbor does and she lays the cuttings out in a branch pile so I scoop those up anytime I see them.

Now, the cuttings I used had been laying out for a couple days, so they look a little sad and wilty. The great thing about hydrangeas is they will bounce right back, they are very vocal about if they want water and once you give it to them, they perk right back.

If you are working off scraps from a fall trim up, you will want to section down those bigger branches into a couple smaller ones.
I always cut right above a leaf segment, then pull off any lower leaves, leaving just the top ones. 

So one of my typical cutting would be about this size.

Then my next trick I've learned, that seems bad, is cutting all the leaves in half or even smaller if they are really big leaves.

This may seem counterintuative to making the plant happy but it works since it decreases the water lost through the leaves. This is important at this point since they are just cuttings and have no root systems and can only take up so much water. Cutting the leaves will give the little cutting less to take care of and allow it to survive and put off roots.

This should give you an idea of what the typical cutting looks like when i'm done.

 You can even experiment if you want and cut the leaves on one and not on another and watch how droopy the full leaves will become! 
This may just be the scientist in me coming out, but experiments are fun!

And here are some I did yesterday that had sad wilty leaves, but with the leaves cut, have bounced back to nice firm leaves.

Just leave the critters in a glass of water by a sunny window and before you know it they will be shooting roots of the bottom, where you originally cut the stem.

 Once you have a nice strong set of roots you can go ahead and plant them in a flower pot. Here are some of the guys I rescued earlier this summer. They have been in the pots for a few months now and  they really took off once I put them in pots.

Here you can see one of the original cut leaves near the bottom, those cut ones usually fall off as the plant sets out new growth.

Since we just moved I don't have any pictures of these guys planted around our old house, but once the potted plants get a bit bigger and you have nice weather, you are ready to plant! The ones I just did, will stay inside all winter and will go out once the threat of frost is gone.
Well, hope this was helpful to you all!


  1. Thanks for the detailed pictures!

    How heat tolerant are these? And can I make the cuttings from ones purchased at the store? Here in Texas I love the Hydrangeas but I'm not sure how long it would last outside :-/

  2. Hey Stacie,

    I'm not sure what kind of plant these come from but they grow well in NC and SC. Hydrangeas do tend to be water hogs and during dry/hot weather can require quite a bit of water.
    You can do this method with any plant, I used to cut them from a really healthy bush at our old house. Look for the new green growth to take a cutting from, instead of the brown tough barky areas.

    I searched a bit for hydrangeas in TX and found the following link that might be helpful in choosing the right kind to survive your TX heat.

    Hope this helps!

  3. This is such great info, and I am definitely going to try this!

  4. This is a great idea. I want to try it but do you think it will work in London, England. Hydrangeas grow well here, but where do I store them over the winter?

    1. I'm not real familiar with winters in London. Here we get freezing temperature from time to time, so I keep the cuttings inside during the winter, sitting in a glass of water by the window, changing the water regularly. If I feel they need to be planted I will and then leave the flower pot inside by my patio window. Now the ones I planted this summer and have had a good amount of time to get stronger in their pots I leave outside. I just make sure they are tucked back in a corner of my deck and have leaves, or mulch on the soil surface to keep them a little warmer. We also don't get below 20 degree F. Hope that helped!

  5. Hols, soy Carmen de Barcelona. Yo tengo Hortensias, pero no las reproducía como tu, pensaba que no echaban raices en el aguoa, pues es tallo leñoso. Voy a probar tu metodo. Gracias

    1. Hola Carmen, gracias para leyendo! Buena suerte con sus hortensias!

  6. Thank you, that's what I needed today. My neighbour is cutting his hydrangeas today and I'll give it a new try. Last time, my cuttings went to the trash.... Perhaps because I didn't cut the leaves.

    Have a nice day