Propagation is essential for a flourishing garden, and those who have a talent for gardening will attest to this fact. By propagating your plants, you can produce fresh ones to distribute or use in your own garden. In this article, we’ll guide you through the simple process of how to take hawthorn cuttings. You’ll find all the necessary information you need by reading on. Don’t miss out on learning about taking Hawthorn cuttings!

Hawthorn Berries
Affiliate Disclosure

When is the Best Time to Take Hawthorn Cuttings?

The ideal period to take Hawthorn cuttings is during late spring or early summer when the plant’s fresh growth is robust, and the wood is soft. With this timing, the cuttings can be transferred outdoors before the conclusion of summer. But, if you delay until late summer to take the cuttings, the wood will be a little more hardened, and the cuttings will probably need to be kept indoors throughout winter as they may not have developed a sturdy enough root system to survive the low temperatures.

Why Take Hawthorn Cuttings?

Taking hawthorn cuttings is a method of plant propagation that offers several benefits:

  • Preservation of Characteristics: Cuttings taken from a hawthorn tree will produce an exact genetic clone of the parent plant. This is particularly important if you wish to replicate the specific characteristics of a particular hawthorn, such as its flower colour or growth habit.
  • Cost-Effective: Propagating hawthorn from cuttings is more cost-effective than purchasing new plants. It allows gardeners and landscapers to create multiple plants from a single specimen without incurring additional costs.
  • Conservation: If a particular hawthorn tree has sentimental value or is a rare or endangered variety, taking cuttings can help to conserve it, ensuring that its genetic line continues.
  • Garden Design: For garden design, cuttings allow for the creation of uniform hedges or landscape features since all the plants will grow consistently due to their identical genetic makeup.
  • Speed of Establishment: While growing from seed can take many years to produce a mature plant, cuttings can establish and reach a significant size more quickly.

Is it Easy to Grow Hawthorn from Cuttings?

Growing Hawthorn from cuttings can be challenging, and the success rate may be as low as 20%. However, as long as you carefully choose healthy, disease-free plants to take the cuttings from and provide the appropriate environment and conditions for rooting, you can increase your chances of success. It’s also worth noting that taking cuttings when the wood has hardened can make it even more difficult for them to root, but not impossible.

If you’re concerned about the success rate of your Hawthorn cuttings, taking multiple cuttings can improve your chances of success.

How to Take Hawthorn Cuttings?

Taking Hawthorn cuttings is not overly complicated, but there are several things to consider to increase your chances of success. You will also need specific items, which you may already have in your shed.

What You Need

  • Sharp tool for cutting (knife, secateurs etc.)
  • Rooting hormone (amazon link – opens in a new tab)
  • Polythene bag
  • Bright windowsill
  • Potting mix
  • 10-inch pots
  • Gloves

Step 1 – Prepare Your Tools

Before you start taking Hawthorn cuttings, it’s crucial to have the right tools on hand. While secateurs, scissors, and knives can all be utilised for taking cuttings, it’s vital to ensure that they are clean and sharp. This will prevent the spread of disease and guarantee that you make a clean cut, causing minimal harm to the parent plant. It’s also recommended to wear gardening gloves to prevent the sap from causing skin irritation. I always suggest wearing gloves when working with plants. Once you have your tools and gloves, you can proceed to the next step.

Tip: I have a knife that I use specifically for taking cuttings only, this ensures that it stays sharper for longer and it just needs a quick clean before use each time.

Step 2 – Prepare Your Pots and Potting Mix

I usually use 10-inch pots, but the size is up to your discretion, as long as it is large enough for the plant to establish a new root system. After selecting the appropriate pot size, you’ll need to choose a potting mix. A potting mix is a lightweight growing medium that typically includes peat moss, perlite, or vermiculite. These materials provide good aeration and drainage, which are essential for rooting new cuttings. Once you’ve decided on your potting mix, fill the container and dampen the mix. Next, create a small hole in the moistened mix to insert the stem.

Step 3 – Choose the Healthiest Looking Hawthorn

When selecting a plant to take a cutting from, it’s advisable to choose the healthiest-looking plant available. This approach improves the likelihood of a successful propagation and also ensures that the parent plant can recuperate from the cutting. If you’re taking the cutting to propagate a new plant due to the older one’s poor condition, try to choose the healthiest-looking new growth whenever possible.

Step 4 – Cut the Stem

For taking a cutting, the optimal stem should be 6-8 inches long, from the current year’s growth, and have multiple healthy leaves. Using a clean cutting knife, make a precise cut just below the lowest leaf node at a 45° angle.

Note: Cutting at a 45° angle reduces the possibility of water build-up on the parent plant that can ultimately cause rotting.

Step 5 – Remove the Lowest Leaves

Grasp the leaves gently near the stem’s base and pull until they come free. Ensure that only two or three pairs of healthy leaves remain on the stem, as they will be crucial for creating a new plant. With the removal of the lower leaves complete, your plant is now ready for the subsequent step.

Step 6 – Dip in Rooting Hormone

To apply rooting hormone powder, moisten the cutting’s end that will be planted and dip it into the powder. Rooting hormone aids in stimulating root growth and can also promote quicker growth. By dipping the cutting in the rooting hormone, you are providing it with an advantage in the propagation process.

Step 7 – Plant Your Cutting

To plant your cutting, insert the stem into the hole that you created earlier. If the hole is too small, enlarge it slightly so that the rooting hormone remains on the end of the cutting where the incision was made. After inserting the cutting into the hole, gently press the mix around the stem to hold it in place.

Step 8 – Cover Your Cutting

One of the critical steps in taking cuttings is to prevent them from drying out. Even a brief period of drought can result in the cutting wilting and dying. One method to keep your cuttings properly hydrated is to cover them with polythene or plastic. This technique creates a miniature greenhouse effect that traps moisture in the potting medium and prevents the cutting from drying out. However, it’s essential to monitor your cuttings regularly since excessive humidity can result in fungal growth.

Note: Plastic grocery bags will usually have holes in but if you are using a sandwich bag or something similar, it is best to poke one or 2 small air holes for ventilation.

Step 9 – Place on a Bright Windowsill

Now that you have your cuttings, it’s time to move them to their new residence. Place them on a warm and brightly lit windowsill, away from direct sunlight, which can cause the leaves to scorch, reducing the likelihood of survival. Instead, the cuttings will thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. The warmth from the sunlight will also aid in encouraging root growth.

Step 10 – Water

Watering your plants is critical for ensuring that they have the necessary moisture to thrive and grow. However, excessive or insufficient watering can harm your plants, so it’s crucial to maintain the perfect balance. The most effective approach to watering your plants is to inspect the potting medium. It should feel damp, resembling a wrung-out sponge. If it feels dry, provide your plants with sufficient water. If it seems saturated, wait for it to dry out a bit before watering again.

Step 11 – Monitor and Be Patient

As every gardener understands, taking cuttings is an excellent method for propagating new plants. However, it’s critical to keep an eye on the cuttings and exhibit patience. New roots may begin to grow almost instantly, and growth may be evident in as little as two weeks. In other circumstances, this may take anywhere from four to six weeks. The essential factor is to maintain the cuttings moist and in a warm, humid environment.

Note: Any dead or dying cuttings should be removed immediately and when you start to see new growth after a few weeks, the polythene bag can be removed.

Do You Need Rooting Hormone for Hawthorn Cuttings?

While it’s not necessary to use rooting hormone when taking Hawthorn cuttings, it can increase the likelihood of successful propagation. Rooting hormone helps stimulate root growth and can also promote faster and healthier plant growth. Therefore, it’s recommended to use rooting hormone powder or liquid when taking Hawthorn cuttings to increase the chances of success.

When Can I Plant My Hawthorn Cuttings Outside?

Hawthorn cuttings should be planted outside when they have established roots and have developed into healthy young plants. This typically takes several months, and it’s advisable to wait until the following spring before planting them outside.

This allows the new plant to develop a robust root system and acclimate to outdoor conditions before facing the winter weather. It’s important to plant the young Hawthorn plants in a location with suitable soil, sufficient sunlight, and appropriate moisture levels to ensure their growth and survival.

Can Hawthorn Cuttings be Propagated in Water?

Yes, Hawthorn cuttings can be propagated in water, but it may not always be the most effective method. While some plants propagate well in water, others may struggle to root or produce weak roots that can break easily. To propagate Hawthorn cuttings in water, place them in a clean container with enough water to cover the bottom two inches of the stem. Change the water frequently and ensure that the cutting remains submerged.

It’s important to note that while rooting in water may be simple, the cutting may not develop the same robust root system as it would in soil. I recommend propagating Hawthorn cuttings in a suitable potting mix instead.


Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, propagating Hawthorn cuttings is a great low-cost way to create new plants. The process is simple and can be done by just about everyone and by following the simple steps above, you can easily create new plants that will thrive in your garden.

Tips for Taking Hawthorn Cuttings Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“Take multiple cuttings from multiple plants to increase chances of success!”

“If you want to involve the kids, pop your cuttings in water so you can see the roots as they grow!”

“Remember not to leave the cutting in direct sunlight as this can cause the leaves to burn and the cutting will be unlikely to survive!”

“When covering, ensure that your cuttings are not touching the plastic. Being in contact with the plastic when wet can lead to rotting and other problems!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What potting mix do I need for Hawthorn cuttings?

Hawthorn cuttings do best in peat-free compost mixed 50% with perlite.

Can Hawthorns be grown from cuttings?

Yes, Hawthorns can be grown from cuttings. Cuttings should be taken from healthy, new growth in late spring or early summer.

Can you take cuttings from Hawthorns?

Yes, you can take cuttings from Hawthorns however, this variety of trees is notoriously difficult to propagate from cuttings and many people report around a 20-30% success rate.

What time of year do you take hawthorn cuttings?

The best time to take hawthorn cuttings is in late spring or early summer when the plant’s new growth is still soft and vigorous.

What is the best way to propagate hawthorn?

The best way to propagate hawthorn is by taking cuttings from a healthy parent plant and rooting them in a suitable potting mix.

Is hawthorn fast growing?

No, hawthorn is not considered a fast-growing plant. It generally grows at a moderate pace.

How do you propagate hawthorn from cuttings UK?

To propagate hawthorn from cuttings in the UK, select healthy stems from a parent plant, cut them to the desired length, remove lower leaves, dip the cuttings in rooting hormone powder, plant them in a suitable potting mix, and keep them in a warm and humid environment.

Can hawthorn trees be grown in pots?

Yes, hawthorn trees can be grown in pots, but it’s essential to choose a pot that is large enough to accommodate the root system, use appropriate potting mix, and ensure that the plant receives sufficient sunlight and water.


Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.

More You Might Like