The Q&A Archives: Oleander

Question: Can I cut a piece of oleander and plant it?

Answer: Many types of plants, both woody and herbaceous, are frequently propagated by cuttings. Oleanders are great candidates for propagating by cuttings. You can take either stem cuttings or tip cuttings.

Here's how:
Take cuttings with a sharp blade to reduce injury to the parent plant. Dip the cutting tool in rubbing alcohol or a mixture of one part bleach : nine parts water to prevent transmitting diseases from infected plant parts to healthy ones. Remove flowers and flower buds from cuttings to allow the cutting to use its energy and stored carbohydrates for root and shoot formation rather than fruit and seed production. To hasten rooting, increase the number of roots, or to obtain uniform rooting (except on soft, fleshy stems), use a rooting hormone, preferably one containing a fungicide. Prevent possible contamination of the entire supply of rooting hormone by putting some in a separate container for dipping cuttings.

Insert cuttings into a rooting medium such as coarse sand, vermiculite, soil, water, or a mixture of peat and perlite. It is important to choose the correct rooting medium to get optimum rooting in the shortest time. In general, the rooting medium should be sterile, low in fertility, drain well enough to provide oxygen, and retain enough moisture to prevent water stress. Moisten the medium before inserting cuttings, and keep it evenly moist while cuttings are rooting and forming new shoots.

Place stem and leaf cuttings in bright, indirect light.

Stem Cuttings
Numerous plant species are propagated by stem cuttings. Some can be taken at any time of the year, but stem cuttings of many woody plants must be taken in the fall or in the dormant season.

Tip Cuttings
Detach a 2 to 6-inch piece of stem, including the terminal bud. Make the cut just below a node. Remove lower leaves that would touch or be below the medium. Dip the stem in rooting hormone if desired. Gently tap the end of the cutting to remove excess hormone. Insert the cutting deeply enough into the media to support itself. At least one node must be below the surface.

Your cuttings will root in 4-6 weeks.

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