Propagating Red Twig Dogwoods

Most common hedging plants are easy to start from your own cuttings. Granted, it is going to take you a little more time to get your hedge big and beautiful, but you wouldn’t be gardening if you wanted instant satisfaction, now would you?

Certain plants are easier to root than others. There is nothing easier to root than a sedum. You snap the top off, literally shove it into the dirt, and next year you will have a plant. It is that easy. Slightly more difficult (but not by much!) are the great hedging plants of the gardening world. Forsythia, Lilacs, Willows and Dogwoods are some of the best hedging bushes and some of the easiest to root. In fact, some gardeners use willow water to root other plants because willow secretes a rooting hormone. No need for the fancy stuff! All you have to do is cut off several young stems and plop them into some water.

Dogwood shrubs (also known as Cornus), are very easy to propagate, grow and care for. Follow these easy steps to propagate dogwoods yourself!


You can tell stems are young because they will have a strong color (in this case RED!), be fairly small and have lots of leaf buds.
The buds will probably open up when you bring the twigs indoors.


Leave your cuttings in the water until, almost by magic, roots will appear. The only trick to this part is to replace the water if it gets brown or stinky and BE PATIENT! Some plants will root within a week or two, but others will take a little longer.


How To Get Dogwood Cuttings

Perhaps you are wondering where to get your cuttings from? Well, you can buy 1 plant and take a couple cuttings, or wait a year and take a lot of cuttings next spring. Or you can find a neighbor or friend that is willing to let you take a few cuttings. You can also use an existing dogwood shrub you have, and cut off newer branches for cuttings at the same time you are pruning. In order to have bright red colors, you should be pruning your red twig dogwood, as the newer branches have much more vibrant red colors than older branches.

After the cuttings are rooted, cut them off directly below the new roots.


Use your trusty heavy duty trowel and dig a hole. Place the twig into the ground. Easy peesy! Just make sure you do this fairly quickly so the roots aren't exposed to the air for too long and dry out. We recommend to take the vase full of cuttings outside and just pull each twig when you are ready to plant it.


Planting Dogwood Cuttings

No need to amend the soil before planting the cuttings. Red twig dogwoods are tough shrubs, and will do fine on their own without much care. Unless your native soil is very poor, it should be fine. Especially if the "mother" plant you got cuttings from is growing in the same soil already! Also, by adding compost, the roots would want to stay in the nice compost instead of reaching out into the soil. The plant would grow fine the first couple of years, but then would reduce in growth because the roots wouldn't dig as deep as they will starting out in regular soil.

After planting the cutting, fill in with soil around the roots.


Give the soil a good pat and water to make sure the soil fills in tightly around the plant. Don't press TOO hard though because you want the roots to be able to "breathe" a bit.


The only bit of pampering to give to these cuttings, is to protect them from the lawn mower by caging them. Use a hanging basket upside down over them and pin it down so they won't get chopped off. Or upside down tomato cages work well too. These will come off as soon as the new plants are visible enough for folks driving the lawn mower to see.


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Author Chris Link - Published 10-14-2021