Gardenia Cuttings

aezarien(7b)June 16, 2008

I received nine nice soft cuttings over the weekend. I have read on here that they can be put in a glass of water and they will root so.. They are maybe six to eight inches. I pulled all but the top three or four leaves and made a small scrape on the bark below the last node and plopped them in a mason jar full of plain water. They are sitting in a greenhouse window that sits on the east side of my home and gets sun until about noon. I can root houseplants in that window but haven't tried shrubs there yet.

Now from what I have read they are pretty forgiving so I am digging for some extra info. I am wondering how far above the node the water should be, if I should add anything to the water like root hormone, or sugar. I have a few packs of that stuff that comes with cut flowers as well.

I also was wondering if the propagation rate would be higher if I stuck them in a mix of something like peat and vermiculite or if the success rate is about the same either way.

I have read quite a few posts on here regarding rooting cuttings and while I can root houseplants fairly easy, I have just never been very good at cuttings. Any advice or pointers to good resources would be greatly appreciated.



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I've not tried to root gardenia. I wonder if this could be done with camellia. Speaking of which, if it can, I could supply a small country with cuttings if anyone wants to try. Lyle

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:03AM
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This may help.
The gardenia may be propagated from stem cuttings. Take a 3 to 4 inch cutting from the tip of a non-flowering shoot. The cutting should not be soft, it should be firm and somewhat woody. The cut should be made just above a node, the point where a leaf is attached to the stem.The following mixture is what I used for gardenias.
2 parts peat moss, 1 part perlite or sharp sand, and 2 parts packaged potting soil,I used Scotts all purpose.
Roots will form in four to six weeks. Newly rooted cuttings can be planted in 3 inch containers filled with soil mixture.

During my study on gardenia propagation I had tried many
ways soft wood,semi hard wood and hard wood cuttings.
The best results with the highest percentage rate was
that with hard wood cuttings taken in mid summer.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:46AM
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Thanks for all the info. I have some peat and sand in the garage so it'll be a fairly easy transition. I just need a little potting soil. And the cuttings still look great so hopefully they won't mind much.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:32AM
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I just been planting 4 August Beauty Gardenia and thinking about taking some cutting to root.
John said all I have to do was to cut off a flower and put it in water and it would root.
I rooted another kind of Gardenia last year by putting it in a pop-up peat container (like use to plant seeds). The cutting was less than 2 inches. Now it maybe a foot tall and has had a few flowers this year.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:28PM
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Wow. I hope to have such luck with mine. I have meant to do something with them but I still have trays and trays of plants to put in the ground. It is looking like it'll be a while before I can get around to them so I kinda hope they root in water!

Thanks for the extra bit of info!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 12:07AM
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jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf)

Me being a non-gardener, I'm trying to deduce this recipe for Gardenia rooting and have probably missed something here. With blueangel's post above, there is no mention of water. Is water not used in this mixture? Or, is there another way to root in water that is just as good...or not?!?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 6:06AM
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I did not mention water nor did I mention
any other ways that were not sucessful.
Not to say that some out there may indeed
have sucess with these methods of propagation.
My research in the propagation of this plant
showed the best sucess rate with the method


    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 8:32AM
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If I'm rooting them in soil I keep it moist. I root plenty in just plain water but it does seem to take a while. I don't use rooting hormone simply because I'm lazy. I take a lot of cuttings with the idea that at least some of them are going to root. Some years all of them root and I am over run with baby gardenias.

I have little luck rooting the smaller leaved G. radicans - the type that is more like a ground cover plant than an upright bush. For them I usually air layer or look for twigs that have grown low against the ground that already have roots.

With most bushes I make a tray of potting soil (preferrably sterile, add grit or sand if you need better drainage for things like Rosemary or Lavender). I use either 4 inch deep plastic trays or large aluminum foil pans with holes in the bottom.

I cut the cuttings from the bushes and keep them in water until I get over to the tray.

I recut the cuttings to just below the nodes or at least really close to it. The roots usually form from corky woody tissue (think: bark), any stem below the node will rot away so you want to cut as close to the node as possible.

I cut the leaves in half (crosswise) and remove any small stems that had buds or old blossoms. This way when the plant grows new leaves I can see them and know that roots have been formed.

I make little craters in the potting soil so that when I stick the cutting into the soil the walls of the crater support the cutting and keep it from falling over (new roots are fragile and any knocking around will break them off).

It takes at least a year for the rooted cuttings to start really growing. By their second year if you get them in the ground they really take off.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 9:27AM
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jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf)

Thanks trianglejohn. Very detailed.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 10:35AM
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Yes, thank you. More great information there.

So far the stems are cut correctly and I did strip everything off but a few leaves. I'm not quite sure I have cuttings from the right part of the plant. They are green, not brown like bark but the outside of the stems are firm and peel back kind of like "green" bark. They came from out of town and I don't know anyone else who has one I can cut from so that part I can't fix.

I guess the only curiosity I have left is... I got them this past Saturday. Will they be ok in the glass of water until say... Monday? And I have prepared them as if I were going to soil root them. Will I need to cut more off the bottom before I stick them in the soil?

Regarding root hormone vs just taking more cuttings: Boy do I sympathize with that. It's amazing how much more work such a small detail can create.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 11:41PM
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mrsig(SC Zone 8)

FYI - I was able to water root some cuttings from a Japanese Yew over this past winter. I was pruning the bush back anyway and I thought "why not?" I stuck the cuttings into water (I used some leftover winebottles near a sunny kitchen window) and they had roots in probably about a month. I then transplanted them to a small pot with a sterile potting mix and now they're still doing great outside and have sprouted new growth all over. I didn't even use rooting hormone.

Japanese Yew isn't as desirable as Gardenia, I know, but it is a shrub so I thought it might still be topical.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 1:53PM
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I just put 6 gardenia cutting in water. When should I see roots?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 10:37AM
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mrsig(SC Zone 8)

Within a month, I'd guess. Be sure to change the water out every so often.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 1:44PM
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Its kinda funny when you'll be at some fancy schmansy plant meeting and an expert will be talking about the difficulty of some certain type of bush or shrub and how tricky it is to propagate and then someone steps forward and explains that they root theirs in plain ol' water, in a glass, on the sill by the kitchen window.

A general rule to follow is to replace the "never" with "hardly ever".

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 5:19PM
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sunslight(Utah z5-6)

my 1st attempt at water rooting a cutting was a miserable failure.

I took the cutting, left 1 set of leaves on top, put cutting in small vial of water, placed all in a clear plastic bag, put on top of 'fridge for some bottom heat, misted leaves daily. Results: no roots, no water uptake, top leaves turned brown, then crispy -- even with misting. I'm off to a poor start.

Question on where to make cut of bottom of stem and the node placement:
One person says take the cutting just above a node [this will leave a lot of wood before the 1st node of the cutting].

Another says cut as close to node as possible. I assume this means the node should be at the bottom of the cutting, with as little wood below it as possible. Am I reading this correctly?

The two suggestions seem to be opposite. Please clarify.

Also, should anything be done with the end of the cutting, such as doing a heel cutting or peeling back some of the bark, smashing it so there will be more water up take-- or just leave it alone?

How deep should the cutting be placed in the water? Just the bottom node or cover three or four nodes with water?

My gardenias are on their last legs--I think root-rot & too much lime in soil is killing them (house plants). If I don't get the cuttings going and do it right, I'll no longer have any gardenias.

Please help with the node-- or does it really matter? Some of the univ. sites say it makes no difference where the cut is made-=-duh.

I'll try water rooting again, with a few cuttings. But I'm going to a 50/50 perlite + peat + root hormone for the final try,

Help, please.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 9:58PM
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I finally got around to taking care of those cuttings today. I found some perlite in the garage right next to my peat moss so I was able to do the 2-1-2 ratio as suggested.

I had put them in the glass ten days ago and when I went to put them in the mix one of them had a small root on it. I had to fight the urge to just leave them in the glass.

John - I actually have a small "greenhouse" window above my kitchen sink which I think is helpful. It is east facing and protrudes quite a ways away from the wall so they get morning sun and the bottom of the platform they sit on stays warm all day. I'm pretty sure the humidity created by being right over the sink doesn't hurt. I have had a lot more success at getting things to root there.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 1:52AM
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aezarien , if you already have root starting on one of the cutting after only 10 days, why are you taking them out of the water to root them????? In the water you can watch the root grow but after you put the ends where you can't see them, you just have to guest if they are rooting. So I got 9 more days till I see roots on the ones I put in the water yesterday. Great! I only took 6 cutting because the plants so small. I wanted a lot more. If I start seeing roots in 10 days, I will cut more to root.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 8:19AM
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mrsig(SC Zone 8)

The only Gardenia I have is not worth cutting/rooting. I think it's a "hot house" gardenia that keeps dying back every winter then sprouting new growth each spring/summer. This year I think it had one bloom, just one.

I keep hoping that it will eventually naturalize to the outside and become more hardy but I'm not optimistic.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:09AM
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Basil - The parent plant resides four hours from me and no one around here that I know has a gardenia. I switched them to soil because I wanted to get the highest number of them to root as possible. That way I have a few to keep and a few to give away.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 11:35AM
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So, by help of Google image search and observation of my garden, I actually think I have a beautiful mature gardenia outside my bedroom window. Is anyone in the area (Durham) interested in cuttings or interested in having some if I manage to get it to root? It smells lovely and has done beautifully in my garden despite the neglect I'm sure it suffered prior to us moving in.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:43PM
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So a few more days have passed and everything seems to still be looking good. There is even a little new growth on a few of them. I got these cute little crocks at Big Lots the other day and after drilling some holes in the bottom for drainage they seem to be working like a charm. Anyway.. so far.. so good..

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:08PM
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mrsig(SC Zone 8)

Cute. Big Lots is great for stuff like that.

What's that in the middle that looks like a type of cactus?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 8:13AM
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It's a Crazy Bunny Ears cactus. I believe the technical name is Opuntia microdasys. I have two pots of them up there. One pot has cuttings my daughter rooted in water and the other we are experimenting with in peat/perlite. She is thirteen and has her own little spot in the yard where she grows veggies. Her stuff looks better than mine heh.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I got one root on one of my cutting. I think it took 8 are 9 days. That the only root they have so far.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 12:54AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

I rooted mine in soil and had no failures. Grew them in a pot and they became quite large. Maybe it depends on which type of gardenia you are using. There are some smaller spreading ones that grow near the coast. Mine are the tall versions.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:00AM
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Mine arrived long distance so I am not sure what variety they are. All is still going well though. I haven't checked for root but I have new growth on several now so I assume they have something down there. At the very least none have dropped yet far so good.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 11:38PM
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Here are the cutting I put in water June 26, 2008.
Five of the cutting have had roots for a long time.
But 3 still don't show any signs of rooting and their tops still look great(they even putting out little leaves under the water). Yesterday I took 7 more cutting and put them in water.
I want a lot more cutting but don't want to cut the bushes all away. Send me all your August Beauty Gardenia cutting that you don't want.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Looks like before long you will have a few new bushes to get more cuttings off of. Mine are still in the soil. I don't know if they rooted or not.. I basically just put them in a quiet place I am likely to ignore them. Things seem to do better when I don't mess with them much!

Great job on your new babies. Maybe the others will spring some new roots before long!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 2:41PM
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May 31 i got a gardenia flower from the restaurant owner at my sons rehearsal dinner. It was soo very wonderful and I thought I would try to sprout the thing. So I put rooting compound on it and put a glass jar on top of it all. Lo and behold it did root!! It has been almost 2 months and it has new growth and is not touching the jar yet. What do I do next as I live in Indiana and the winters indoors can be hard on plants. I was wondering if a gardenia can live in a terrarium environment over the winter. I havent taken the jar off yet as it looks so very healthy and happy. Any advice ?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:36AM
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