How to Grow a Perennial Food System Part 2: Hardwood Cuttings


Cuttings are clones of a plant and are genetically identical to the parent plant. This is an easy way to grow many more specimens of your favorite shrub, as long as the shrub has multiple stems.

Hardwood Cuttings:

This is a hardened stem that you would find on your shrubs in late fall or very early spring, while the plant is still dormant. These are the times to take these cuttings, just be sure to take hardwood from the previous year’s growth (i.e. one year old wood).


Take a cutting that is 15 to 20 cm long with at least 3 leaf nodes (growth node). Wound the outer bark at the base of the cutting to expose the inner green bark (cambium).


Dip it in No. 3 rooting hormone, which can be found at most garden centers. This will help the cuttings root faster.


Plant cuttings in trays or pots and be sure to plant your cuttings vertically in the same direction that the shoot was growing. Be careful not to plant the cutting upside down! You may have to mark the top as it is not obvious once the stem is removed from the plant. Creating a sloping cut on top and a horizontal cut on the bottom will help you determine which end is up.

Place cuttings in a cold frame covered with burlap or in a shade house to root and then harden off before planting in a nursery bed or in a permanent location. Prevent the cuttings from drying out by keeping them well watered.


Want to learn more? Check out How to Grow a Perennial Food System Part 1: Seed Propagation

These cuttings will be kept in CFI's Plant Nursery. Thanks to Rennaissance Sackville, we will have workshops, plant material, and a booklet so you can start your own perennial food system! Stay tuned, more information coming soon!!

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