Hardwood and Softwood Stem Cuttings For Plant Propagation

Plant cuttings for propagation are classified based on the plant part from which they are taken (stem, root or leaf) and their state of growth (herbaceous, softwood, hardwood, etc.).

Learn details on Softwood, Semi-hardwood or Hardwood Cuttings for plant propagation and a list of plants that grow from different types of cuttings.

Almost all perennial and shrubby plants can be propagated from cuttings. The most successful plants suitable for for cutting propagation include mint, dill, rosemary, lavender, daisies, geranium, mandevilla and many more.


Plant propagation methods | How to take cuttings | Best soil mix for rooting cuttings

What Plants Can You Grow from Cuttings

List of Plants Suitable for Cuttings For Propagation



Some plants are best propagated from softwood cuttings, while some are propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings and others from hardwood cuttings.

Type of Cuttings For Plant Propagation

Type of Stem Cuttings

You can take Softwood, Semi-hardwood or Hardwood Cuttings. Cuttings are always taken from healthy plants.

Softwood Cuttings

Softwood Cuttings are taken in spring when the plant is growing due to prevailing growth hormones in the plant system. As the soft leaves are quite tender, care must be taken to keep them from drying out. Soft wood cuttings usually root quite quickly. Softwood stem cuttings have the highest rooting success of all the cuttings. Many difficult to propagate plants can be tried from softwood cuttings.


Propagated Hibiscus from Cutting
Propagated Hibiscus from cutting









Examples of plants that can be propagated from softwood cuttings include Asters, Azalea, Bedding geraniums, Bee balm, Bellflowers, Betula tree, Blanketflowers, Blueberries, Buddleja, Bugleweed, Butterfly bush,Catalpa (Indian Been tree),  Catmint, Cherries Ornamental Chrysanthemums, Clematis, Clematis, Coleus, Dahlias, Dogwood Fuchsia, Fuchsias, Hydrangea, Lavender, Lilac, Maples, Mulberry, Rose of Sharon, Spirea, Wisteria, and many more.

Semi-hardwood Cuttings

Semi-hardwood Cuttings are taken after flowering in mid-summer when the plant is starting to harden. The semi-hardwood is quite firm and the leaves of mature size. Semi-hardwood cuttings also root quickly.

Rose Propagated from Stem Cutting
and Grown in a Pot
Many broadleaf evergreen shrubs and some conifers are propagated by this method. Examples of plants that can be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings include Althea, Angel Trumpet, Artemisia, Azalea, Boxwood, Berberis, Box, Brachyglottis, Buddleia (butterfly bush), Camellia, Caryopteris (blue mist spirea), Ceanothus, Cherry laurel, Choisya, Cistus, Coleus, Convolvulus cneorum, Erica, Escallonia, Fatsia, Fuchsia, Gardenia, Geraniums, Hebe, Holly, Holly, Ivy, Lamium, Lavender, Lonicera nitida, Lonicera pileata, Mahonia, Passion flower, Periwinkle, Portuguese laurel, Privet, Quince, Flowering, Rhododendron, Rubus calycinoides, Rubus tricolor, Solanum, Trachelospermum Viburnum, Weigela, etc.
Herbs: Bay, Hyssop, Lavender, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Thyme

Hardwood Cuttings

Hardwood Cuttings are generally taken from the current year growth at the end of autumn or in winter or early spring, when the plant is fully dormant with no active growth. The wood is firm and does not bend easily.

It should be noted that the hardwood cuttings take longer to root.

Butterfly Bushes, Currants, Euonymus, Fig, Forsythia, Forsythias, Grape Honey locust, Privet, Russian olive, St. John's Wort, etc.  are among the plants that can be propagated with hardwood cuttings.

Following is a list of plants with their Scientific names which can be propagated from different types of cuttings, viz. softwood, semi-hardwood and hardwood cutings.

Plants Propagation from Softwood or Hardwood Cutting
Common NameScientific Name
Broom Cytisus spp.
Honeysuckle Lonicera spp.
Blueberry Vaccinium spp.
Deutzia Deutzia spp.
Hydrangea Hydrangea spp.
Ivy, Boston Parthenocissus
 tricuspidata
Mock orange Philadelphus spp.
Poplar, Aspen; Cottonwood Populus spp.
Rose of Sharon; Shrub-althea HIbiscus syriacus
Virginia creeper Parthenocissus
quinquefolia
Weigela Weigela spp.
Plants Propagation from Softwood or Semi-hardwood Cutting
Common NameScientific Name
Clematis Clematis spp.
Crabapple Malus spp.
Cherry, Flowering Prunus spp.
Dawn redwood Metasequoia
glyptostroboides
Dogwood Cornus spp.
Mandevilla Apocynaceae
Maple Acer spp.
Maple Acer spp.


Plants Propagation from Softwood, Semi-hardwood or Hardwood Cutting
Common NameScientific Name
Bittersweet Celastrus spp.
Forsythia Forsythia spp.
Geranium cranesbills
Rose Rosa spp.
Trumpet creeper Campsis spp.
Willow Salix spp.




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