Hummingbirds and butterflies delight in honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), and after growing one from a clipping, you will too. The fast-growing shrubs and climbing plants easily grow roots from clippings, commonly called cuttings. When grown from cuttings, most honeysuckle, like Southern bush honeysuckle (Diervilla sessilifolia "Butterfly"), will bloom sweetly-scented, funnel-shaped flowers throughout the growing season. Though the flowers are lovely, the quick coverage and thick foliage really makes honeysuckle worth growing. Full or partial sun and well-drained soil in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 8 is enough to nurture honeysuckle like Southern bush honeysuckle.
1 Mix together one part peat moss and three parts coarse perlite in a sterile container that has bottom drainage holes. The parts of the mixture are sterile, so they make an ideal rooting medium for softwood honeysuckle clippings. Wet the rooting medium until it drains. The rooting medium should be moist, not saturated.
2 Select a 1-year-old or younger stem that is 6 inches or longer. Softwood cuttings are taken from new, soft growth during the growing season. Cut off a 4- to 6-inch piece of the stem with bypass pruners or a sharp knife.
3 Pinch off any leaves from the bottom 1 to 2 inches of the cut end. To help the stem grow roots, apply rooting hormone powder to the bottom 1/2 inch. Poke a small hole in the rooting medium with a pencil or knife.
4 Insert the cut end of the stem 1 to 2 inches deep into the rooting medium, sitting straight up. Water around the base of the stem, and tamp down the rooting medium. Put a plastic bag on top of the stem with a few straws -- support for the plastic bag -- stuck in the rooting medium.
5 Put the stem in an area that has indirect sunlight and a consistent temperature of 60 to 80 degrees F. If the stem will be indoors, place it near a north-facing window. The stem should be placed underneath a tree or near the north side of a building structure if it will be outdoors.
6 Mist the stem several times daily with a spray bottle and remove any dead leaves. Keep the rooting medium evenly moist at all times. Honeysuckle will grow roots in about one month.
7 Tug on the stem gently to check for roots. When a stem has rooted, it will slightly resist tugging. Start hardening off the stem when the roots are about 1/2 inch long. Gradually decrease humidity and increase sunlight exposure over a period of a few weeks.
8 Plant the stem in potting soil in a 4-inch diameter container with bottom drainage holes. Avoid exposing the stem to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight a few weeks after potting. If the stem is not gradually hardened off, it may die.
Items you will need
- Peat moss
- Coarse perlite
- Containers with bottom drainage holes
- Bypass pruners or a sharp knife
- Rooting hormone powder
- Plastic bag
- Some species of honeysuckle are invasive, like the notorious Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). Japanese honeysuckle grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 10.
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Propagating Plants In and Around the Home
- Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees, and Vines with Stem Cuttings
- Fine Gardening: Genus Lonicera
- Fine Gardening: Lonicera Japonica
- Fine Gardening: Diervilla Sessilifolia
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images