The Q&A Archives: Propagating Kerria

Question: How do I do a stem cutting to get more of these shrubs?

Answer: Kerria japonica is best propagated by early spring stem cuttings, or by a process called layering. In fact, it may have self-layered already. Look around the base of the plant for new shoots presenting themselves.If you gently dig down you may see it can be cut from the main plant. It will have a stem and root attached. After you cut the attachment, dig it up and plant it where you wish! Or, you can layer it by bending a long stem, gently placing it under the surface of the soil (while still attached to the mother plant). I always put a large rock on top of this location to hold the stem there, and also to identify where I am working on a root layering. Leave it like this for a growing season and then, beingsure a root has formed, cut it from the mother plant, dig the root up gently and plant it where you would like!

To propagate by cuttings, choose healthy leafy canes that are not too tough and about the diameter of a pencil. Using a sharp knife, cut off the soft tip of the cane and then cut it into 4-5 inch pieces. Each piece should have at least 2 nodes and some leaves.

Strip off the bottom leaves exposing a node and plant the cuttings in moist soil and keep them in bright shade and high humidity. You can use containers covered with plastic bags, or set them in the ground in the shade and cover them with plastic jugs. You might try both methods. Take as many cuttings as you can to ensure success. Good luck.

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