The Q&A Archives: Starting a Holly Tree from Cuttings

Question: I have cuttings from a Holly Tree (that are outside). Can you start a tree from them, and if so how?

Answer: Yes, you can start holly from hardwood cuttings in fall to mid-winter, or semi-ripe cuttings in late summer to fall. Cuttings should be about 3 inches long with the top two leaves intact. Hardwood cuttings are taken when the plant is dormant in late autumn or late winter just before bud break. Bundle up to 10 cuttings with a piece of twine; dip the base into rooting hormone; insert the bundle into a box or bed of sand and put in a sheltered place or cold frame over winter. They should root by spring. Keep sand moist, but not wet. Bottom heat can also be helpful for rooting.

Semi-ripe cuttings are taken in mid- to late-summer from the current season's growth that has begun to firm. The cutting's base should be quite hard, while the tip should be growing and still soft. Use 2 1/2 - 4 inches, and remove side shoots. Make a shallow wound on the stem by cutting away a thin piece of bark (1/2 inch long). This stimulates rooting. Dip in a rooting hormones and insert in a soilless potting mix. Provide a humid environment. Good luck!

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