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easy Propagate Boxwood with cuttings

Want a pretty boxwood hedge but don’t want to spend big bucks?  I hear you.  The answer is to take boxwood cuttings and root them. I share how I propagate boxwoods and how easy it really is!

Propagating boxwood with cuttings is super easy but it does take a bit of time.  It may take a good three years or more before you get boxwood plants to grow large enough to form a hedge in your garden but the cost savings is substantial. 

Beautiful boxwood hedge around rose garden at Filoli, text overlay How to Root boxwood cuttings, create a beautiful hedge on a budget, Flower Patch Farmhouse

It is May and I am working towards a more tidy garden. If you have been reading here long you know I tend to embrace the less than neat and formal style of gardening. The loose, wild cottage garden is more my thing.

Yet I find I am craving a bit more order. I feel I can achieve that with some green structure that will carry through winter, providing interest when nothing is in bloom.  I am not going for rigid straight lines, so no worries on that score. 

I love boxwood (Buxus) and how versatile it can be.  Many varieties keep their green color through the winter and can be shaped into topiary. 

Not only does a boxwood hedge bring a touch of order to the garden without being too fussy but it has the added benefit of also being deer resistant.

Planting enough boxwood can get expensive very quickly if you want enough to create a nice hedge. So what is a budget minded gardener to do?  

Take cuttings from an existing boxwood and propagate a ton of them. 

Note: use only boxwoods that are no longer patented.  Also, use boxwood cultivars that don’t have the nasty cat pee scent.  (those are usually english boxwoods that stink) 

potted winter gem boxwood

When to Take Boxwood Cuttings

A good time to start boxwood cuttings is when you trim your boxwood shrubs in Spring.  You will have dozens (if not more) cuttings to use from your trimmings.  (many also prune again in late Summer, typically mid Sept)

Start with a nice healthy boxwood, this one happens to be in a container. 

As you can see this Winter Gem Boxwood has fresh green growth. It is a bit more chartreuse in color than the previous growth. 

The fresh growth is perfect for cutting material.

winter gem boxwood foliage close up

How to take Box Cuttings to propagate

If you are just getting started you can do like I am here, take a nice potted one to clip cuttings from. 

cutting a stem from a boxwood shrub

Use sharp pruners or a knife and cut off a 4 to 6 inch new growth stem from the boxwood plant. I use my pruners but some claim this pinches the stem preventing rooting.  You can take a sharp knife after taking the cutting from the plant and re-slice if you wish.  

Prepare boxwood cutting to root

I create a fresh spot for roots by pinching/stripping the leaves off. This opens the stem a bit so I figure that is why I don’t have trouble with using pruners in place of a sharp knife to take cutting.  

boxwood cutting removing leaves

Pinching the leaves off prevents too much damage to the stem as pulling them can strip a bit too much from the surface of the cutting. I am not always that careful and have not had issues yet but thought you may like to know that.  

Now that the leaves are removed dip the cuttings into rooting hormone (this is optional) 

boxwood cutting in rooting hormone

Place boxwood slips into potting medium

Using a dauber of some sort (I used a sharpie back end) to create a slot to place your cutting into your pot of soil (I used my diy potting soil) By creating a hole in the soil you prevent the rooting hormone from getting removed as you slide in the stem.

poke boxwood cutting into pot of soil

I place several cuttings into the pot. This is a 3.5 inch pot and I fit in about 4 or 5 to a pot. Firm the soil in around the stems. 

Water the cuttings well.  You can cover the pots to maintain moisture as I do in this post. 

Boxwood cuttings or slips in pot

Boxwood Propagation success

I have read that rooting of the boxwood cuttings should only take about 3 or 4 weeks but for some reason mine take longer.  

But many do root. Look at those healthy roots!

Rooted boxwood cutting
rooted boxwood cutting laying on potting table

In my video I share how I pot up this rooted boxwood cutting to grow on into a beautiful bush or shrub. 

I am working also on starting a ton of boxwood cuttings directly in my garden. I will be sure and share how that works out. 

Have you ever started boxwood cuttings? What would you do differently?

More you will enjoy
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Happy Gardening!

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Saturday 27th of June 2020

Thanks for this video. But there are few questions from those who don't have much experience in gardening: 1. What is the best temperature to keep the pots? 2. How much to water them and on what basis?

My initial experience was not great. I used 3.5 pots and I planted one cutting per pot. I left them in garage near the window where they got sun lite from 6am till noon. I added about 30mls of water daily, but then it became very hot (up to 33 Celsius) and I switched to 60mls per pot daily. Either it was too hot, or I over-water them, but after about 11 days their leaves transformed into tubes and became black in some cases. Most of them I had to replant with the newer cuttings. Now I left them in the basement where the temperature is about 22 Celsius, and I'm very careful to not to over-water them - e.g. initially I used only 15mls per pot. Still I'm not sure was it over-watering or high temperature which killed most of cuttings, but when I replanted them I decided to replace the soil as well, and the initial soil was so wet like after the huge rain, even though I didn't water them for few last days.


Sunday 28th of June 2020

I don't keep watch on temperature as it varies widely by where you are in the world. Direct light through a window would be hard on the cuttings, especially when it is hot. Watering also is determined by your temps and climate so I cannot give specifics, you don't want them to be soaking wet, but do keep the soil moist, Use a very loose mix, half sand half potting soil. Check with a finger and push down into the pot and see level of moisture. If it is dry over an inch down into the pot then give them some water, make sure there is good drainage.


Saturday 6th of June 2020

I am so happy I found your website! I am definitely going to try propagating from the boxwoods I already have. I am a very budget conscious person but I love gardening and it's so easy to spend a lot of money on plants!

Sydney Scalici

Thursday 28th of May 2020

I just read this post because I was outside weeding earlier today and noticed that the boxwood from my neighbor’s property line had sent shoots into my yard. I carefully dug them up and potted them in 4-inch pots. I was wondering i how to encourage their growth, hence reading this post. Since they already have roots, I think I’ll plant them directly into the ground once I figure out where!


Friday 29th of May 2020

That is great, I have never had any of mine send out shoots like that. Great idea to dig them up and grow them somewhere you really want them.

El currey

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

That was a perfectly explained procedure. No excess information for the totally ignorant. .. just enough to make it happen. Thanks.

erika juhl

Tuesday 14th of May 2019

i stick the sprigs directly into the garden where i want them to grow and as long as they are kept moist for a few weeks, they develop roots quickly. I don't use a rooting hormone and not even all that careful when i'm clipping them. I agree, that they do take a very long time to grow into a bush, but it is well worth it.


Tuesday 14th of May 2019

I have another post coming up about starting them in the ground. I am trying a couple different spots.

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