How Do I Propagate Flowering Dogwood Trees?

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Dogwood trees (Cornus florida) bear colorful white or pink blossoms in the spring and summer months. Native to North America, these trees grow in hardiness zones 5 to 9. Gardeners with one dogwood tree on their property can use propagation to produce dogwood saplings. Propagating a flowering dogwood is not difficult, but it does require patience. Cuttings take several weeks to root and several years to grow into full-sized dogwood trees.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Shears
  • Peat
  • Perlite
  • 12-inch pots
  • Rooting powder
  • Pencil
  • Water
  • Clear plastic bag
    1. Prepare to take softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings from your dogwood in either late spring to early summer (for softwood) or mid-summer to fall. Dogwoods are ready for soft cutting before the green new season growth hardens, or for semi-hardwood when the new wood begins to firm up. Softwood cuttings root faster.
    2. Clip cuttings at least 4 inches long from your dogwood tree. North Carolina State University recommends avoiding branches with flowers. Since propagation doesn’t have a 100 percent success rate, take more cuttings that you want to root.
    3. Strip leaves from the bottom third of your cutting, using your fingers to pull them off.
    4. Mix peat and perlite in a 1-to-1 ratio. Fill a container with this mixture. North Carolina State University recommends using a large flowerpot (i.e. 12 to 16 inches) to root three to four cuttings.
    5. Dip the end of your dogwood cutting in rooting hormone or rooting powder. This helps the cuttings root quicker.
    6. Poke 2- to 3-inch deep holes in the potting medium with a pencil. Stick one dogwood cutting in each hole so that 1/3 to 1/2 of the cutting is buried. Push the potting medium around the cutting to plant it. Plant all cuttings in this manner.
    7. Water the container until liquid flows through the drainage holes at the bottom.
    8. Place the container in a clear plastic garbage bag. Tie the garbage bag. This keeps the container humid, which holds moisture in and promotes faster rooting.
    9. Leave the container in indirect sunlight. Monitor the moisture level, adding more water if the potting medium feels dry to the touch.
    10. Pull on the cutting to check whether it has rooted. If it has not rooted, it will move up toward you. Rooted cuttings will resist moving.
    11. Transplant the cuttings into their own 12-inch pots once they have rooted. Plant them in potting soil, filling each container with potting soil and poking a hole for the cutting with a pencil. This time, plant cuttings only as deep as they were planted in the rooting container.
    12. Continue to water the rooted cuttings. When they grow too large for their 12-inch pots, you can transplant them into the ground.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take dogwood cuttings in the morning, when the weather is cool.

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