Taking Laurel Cuttings

discodavediscodave Posts: 510

Hi all, I have several stunning varigated Laurel bushes in my garden and would like to take some cuttings this year (its free plants). Has anyone done this.? I have a south facing garden (Surrey), with a cold frame and lots of sheltered space.

I understand that now is too early, but as I am completely unsure as to where to begin I thought I had better post early so I dont end up missing the right time. 


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,054

    Is this aucuba or a laurel thats variegated? If it's aucuba I've found bits have layered down and/or suckered around the main plant and have created more that way.

    A while back I posted a question about evergreen cuttings and got a good tutorial. I'll find it.

  • discodavediscodave Posts: 510

    My appologies, its Aucuba

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,054

     This is my lesson in evergreen cuttings, posted around the beginning of December.

    This is really a good time of year for evergreen cuutings as temperature are low and hence the danger of your cuttings drying out is much reduced. Cuttings should ideally be about 6-7" long with a square cut at the base with a sharp knife or secateurs and only the top two or three leaves left on the cutting. A free-draining compost is best (addsharp sand or perlite) since the cuttings should not dry out but do not need to be water-logged as this can cause them to rot. Raising them in a largeish plant pot with a clear plastic bag covering them seems to work quite well, watering as needed. They will not start to grow until the Spring at the earliest and may not root properly till the Autumn or late Summer. If they start to show some new growth that's a good sign that roots are forming. The cuttings should grow vertically with perhaps a bit of support from a stake although there is likely to be some side growth. Select a strong side branch and prune away the others cleanly with no snags. If there is no obvious strong leader shoot the tie one of the stronger side growths to a strong vertical cane to ecourage it to grow upwards. Add more ties with soft twine as it grows, preferably firm but not too tight. Trimming these side branches off as the plant grows will encourage it to grow a strong central stem and you can cut back the leading stem at the height you wish and form a lollipop shape or grow to a full sized tree if it grws unchecked. Alternatively, trim the side branches into a cone or column shape if you prefer. Tying the plant to a vertical stake as it grows will help to keep it straight but it helps to put some padding (rag or an odd piece of foam rubber) between the stem and the support to stop chafing the bark against the stake.

    I think that it would help you a lot to get a copy of the R.H.S. Propogating book. possibly second-hand via Abe Books etc on the internet. It lists techniques for growing a wide range of plants from seed and cuttings as well as grafting. The Pruning book is excellent too. All the R.H.S. books are worthwhile come to that and quite cheap in paper-back.

    You can see some excellent examples of topiary and ornamentally trimmed hedges in many old country houses and places like Wesonbirt Arboretum are well worth a visit.

    I hope this is of some help.

    Good Gardening,


  • discodavediscodave Posts: 510

    thats brilliant, thanks

  • AtillaAtilla Posts: 1,493

    The only way I get Aucuba japonica cuttings was via semi-hardwood.

    I took 6 inch cuttings or so, removed all the leaves (important as those I did not never rooted), planted deeply in a sheltered, damp place. It took 8 months at least. You need to cut off the leaves to conserve water suring summer. I found them hard to root and it is slow.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,054

    I was grateful to mine for doing their own propagation. I've just taken 3 more from 'Rozannie' a little green aucuba. 

  • I have just followed the above instuction for taking cuttings of laurels as they are extremely expensive from garden centres, I used a hormonal rooting powder, I am not very experienced at this type of thing, but never too late to learn, as they say, we have loads of healthy looking laurel bushes in the area, dont know proper name but light green, spade shaped leaves, very attractive, high growers, great for making front gardens more private, will let you know how they do.

    Regards, Caroline.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,054

    Many thanks for reviving this thread Caroline. I've been searching for it everywhere. I saved the instructions to a file but the computer diedimage

  • Here we are in the South of France with many laurels around, it is January, can we take cuttings now? Thanks Wine Lover

  • vmilnervmilner Posts: 1

    Hi, can you tell me how to cut and root blossom and lilac ..I have big trees but not sure if I can take cuttings..thank you for any replies of help .

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