How to grow bonsai from cuttings

This article will discuss how to properly propogate bonsai trees from your existing bonsai collection. We will be using a recent example of mine using a mini-jade (Portulacaria afra). They seem to grow especially well from cuttings and would be a good choice to use if this is your first time trying this. If you are already planning on pruning your bonsai tree why not save a branch or two and give this a try.

Prepare your cutting

First, get some very sharp shears and make sure they are clean and disinfected. Next, cut off a portion of branch about 4 to 5 inches long. Don't make your cut too close to a notch in the bark or a leaf in the case of a mini-jade. Next, take your cutting and remove any leaves that are within 2 inches of the cut end. After, I like to spray the cutting with a mild antifungal spray to prevent rotting and other issues.

Dress your cutting

Now that you have your cutting ready you will want to coat the end in rooting hormone. This is a powder that coats the branch you just exposed and will help encourage root growth. Cover about 1.75 to 2 inches of the branch in it.

Place the cutting in the growing medium

Prepare a very small pot with perlite or sand. I personally like perlite more than sand. It is completely inert and stays moist while letting any extra water drain immediately. Poke your cutting into the center of the medium.

mini-jade branch cutting in perlite

Lastly, moisten the growing medium with water and you are all done. Keep the cutting out of direct sun and heat while it recovers from the shock. Keep the medium moist. For me, this meant putting a dash of water on the perlite every morning. I kept my mini-jades on a sunny windowsill after 2 days and they grew very well there

Here are some pictures of the cuttings above after about two months.

2 month progress mini-jade branch cutting in mame pot
2 month progress mini-jade branch in plastic pot with perlite

Recipe for alternative to store-bought rooting hormone

This alternative recipe for rooting hormone is supposed to nourish your bonsai cutting better than what you can buy in the store. I have not tried this myself, but it sounds interesting. Let me know if you try it and it works for you.

Home-made rooting hormone recipe
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup honey

Mix together and refrigerate 6-8 hours. After, this home-made bonsai rooting hormone mixture would be applied the same as the instructions above for store-bought rooting hormone.

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