Pick It and Stick It – Propagate by Cuttings 101

Seriously. Half of the non-edibles in our garden have been established by cuttings. 

If you have always wanted to try planting via cuttings, I have the instructions for you:

  1. Pick it
  2. Stick it

That’s it! 

Well, there may be a little more to it than that, but this method is so stinking easy and fun it is ridiculous.

This is just part of a dusty miller plant that grew from one small leaf.
This is after 3 years of growth. 
This is a “baby” dusty miller from the parent. It must have started by a seed from the mother plant
Left: Similar size cutting (about 5 inches long) that started all of the dusty miller on our property


PICK IT: It all started about 3 or 4 years ago when I visited my friend’s well-manicured yard. We had recently purchased this property and had not even really decided what we were going to grow. But I wanted something rather than nothing. So my friend started picking little stems and cutting from her plants and bagging them up for me. 


STICK IT: When I got home, I stuck what I wanted in the ground a couple of inches or so, covered it with dirt, and kept it well watered until the drooping cuttings began to show signs of new life. I did not use rooting hormone. I did use some fish emulsion fertilizer. That’s it. This is how I got my hen and chicks, lavender, aloes, and of course dusty miller. 

I don’t know why I had always hesitated to try this before. It probably boils down to fear that it wouldn’t work because I had no idea what I was doing. If you have always wanted to try this, do it!  It cannot hurt anything. It is free.  It is fun!

“Hey, can I have a piece of that?”

Start locally: Why not start with your neighbors? What a way to get neighbors to share established plants. You’ll already know it grows well in the neighborhood. We do it all the time. I love to see “my” dusty miller and ornamental garlic over the fence. It is pretty satisfying. Caveat: It is a wise idea to check for disease and find out what kind of growing methods and/or pesticides your neighbor uses.


Pick and stick works GREAT in containers! You can get a pot, plant a cutting and give as gifts! I do this a lot when I don’t know where I want to permanently place something.


Of course, the pick and stick method will not work for every plant. If you want to get serious about planting cuttings, and do it “properly,” you’ll have to look up instructions for each type of plant. Most will have you using rooting hormone. I definitely use rooting hormone when I am propagating plumeria or berries. Or when I am not lazy ;)


Obviously, this article does not address every issue with planting from cuttings. It was not meant to. Hopefully this will just inspire some beginning gardeners to just, well…. pick it and stick it!


Enjoy some of the other ‘pick and stick’ plants from our garden:


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Pick It and Stick It – Propagate by Cuttings 101

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