How to Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings

Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings

How to Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings

Looking for a way to grow your garden without a lot of money?  By sharing plants among friends or increasing the ones you already have, you can fill your landscape and save hundreds of dollars doing it.  For instance, a three gallon hydrangea may cost twenty or thirty dollars but you can start your own from cuttings off a friend’s plant for almost nothing.  And it’s easy…here’s how to do it.


To start hydrangeas from cuttings, prepare a starting mix of equal parts milled peat moss and coarse vermiculite.  Make sure the ingredients are evenly mixed and moist throughout. This mix will retain enough moisture to keep the cuttings from drying out initially, and it will allow the young roots to expand through the mix as they grow.  For hydrangeas, I like to use half-gallon or larger containers which will be large enough to grow the plants until they are ready to go into the garden. Also, you may wish to purchase a small package of rooting hormone.  This is not absolutely necessary for hydrangeas, but a little goes a very long way and it will speed up the rate at which the cuttings will generate baby roots. No fertilizer is needed during the cutting/rooting process. Finally, you will need a pair of sharp, clean pruners. hydrangeaprop9

Taking the Cuttings

The best branches to work with are relatively thick (one and a half times the thickness of a pencil), a little green (but not brand new shoots), with no flower buds. Use a pencil to make a three-inch-deep hole in the soil mix for each cutting. Cut the top six inches of the branch, making the cut two inches or so below the leaf node (this is the junction where leaf sprouts or sprouted from the branch). Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings   Remove all except the top two leaves. Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings   Cut the top two leaves in half to reduce the loss of water through transpiration. Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings   Dip the base of the cutting into the rooting hormone (if you are using it) then put the cutting into the pre-made hole. Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings   Start Hydrangeas from CuttingsFor a half gallon container, one cutting per pot should be sufficient.  For a larger (three or five gallon) container, you may wish to use up to five cuttings, removing the two weakest cuttings as the others develop.


Let the cuttings grow undisturbed, in a shaded area, for about three weeks.  Keep the soil mix moist but not wet.  After this time, gently pull the cuttings to check for resistance…this indicates that roots have formed.  Soon after rooting, new leaf buds will begin to form, indicating that normal plant maintenance can begin. Once new leaf growth has begun, a weekly application of half-strength liquid fish emulsion fertilizer will help the plants grow strong and healthy, otherwise, keep them watered as needed. Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings

When to Plant

A rooted hydrangea should be babied for several weeks prior to planting in the landscape. Removing the plant from its container can damage young roots, so patience is advisable. Allow the top-growth to become one to one-and-a-half times the size of the container it’s planted in before planting out.  It is also good to gradually get the plant accustomed to increased sunlight if it will be planted in a sunnier spot than where it was rooted.  As it grows, gradually move it from shade to dappled sun than to morning sun, in one or two-week increments.

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17 thoughts on “How to Start Hydrangeas from Cuttings

  1. My hydrangea is about seventy years old and the blooms can be various colors, mostly blue-purple and many years the blooms are over fifteen inches across. I’ll be starting cuttings this summer to see what they do when we move them from western Pennsylvania to Bloomington, Indiana.

  2. Thank you so much, everyone said I have a green thumb up to my shoulder. But I have not tried. To plant them,but thanks to this I am going to try. One question it is already the middle of August should I waste till next spring or can I just leave them in the pots all winter. Should I leave them inside or out. Thank you so much.

  3. Greetings!

    My mom in middle va gave me two large cuttings. One nearly 3 ft tall (5 or 6 leaf groups) and one about 20 inches with 4 leaf groups. Can I try mulitple plants/rootings?

    Also, I live in central nc. If they root, should I bury them in pot, keep indoors until next year, or plant? And, pot size recommendation is appreciated given it’s late in the year and base on wintering recommendation.



  4. what is the best time to cutting Hydrangea?

    1. Thanks for visiting! The best time of year to take the cuttings is in the summer, when the young green wood begins to mature. Enjoy this project.

  5. I live in Arkansas and I had hydrangeas “annabele” type on North side of my brick house. They died! 🙁 …… What kind of soil does the plant require? Will any insect granules kill it? We spread this around our house for ants and spiders during the summer and especially during the beginning of the fall. I moved my Annabelles to the outskirts of the yard against a cyclone fence on the south side where the foresty area is. They don’t like it there either, I think it gets an hour of afternoon sun that is burning my leaves. I have cut back the plant since most of the leaves were dying and now it’s just a “stick plant”. Please advise……..

  6. How do I change mine to blue? I bought a product that said it would change the acidity and used the entire bag as this is a large bush, but no color change

    1. It can take up to a season or two to change the acidity of the soil. It also depends on the type of hydrangea you have, for example, you can not change the color of white ones.

  7. This is amazing, thank you! I’d like to know, though, how to keep my hydrangea’s colour fast. A beautiful periwinkle blue one has slowly turned the same colour as its leaves and while stunning, isn’t what I hoped for. Any ideas?

    1. Barbara,
      If your blooms faded to green after maturing on the plant, that is a natural progression. They do seem to hold blue fairly well when cut at peak color and dried. Thanks for visiting!

    2. Try coffee grounds to change the acid. Check into sulfur , be careful and patient
      Changing the soil PH takes a long time.

  8. My hydrangea is doing poorly in Florida. It doesn’t like it outside or inside and is slowly dying. Is this hard to grow, what am I doing to kill this plant?

    1. Donna,

      Where is the hydrangea planted? What type is it? Normally they are easy to grow, but prefer dappled shade.

  9. very cute.. thank you for tr tip.. i will try… ^ ^

  10. Thank you for showing how to propagate Hydrangea. This is one of my favorite shrubs.

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