Cutting Propagation Online Course. Develop your ability to propagate a wide variety of different plants by cuttings. Designed for home or commercial propagators working in production nurseries.

Course Code: BHT211
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Become an Expert Plant Propagator

This is a course for both the enthusiast or the commercial propagator.

This is a unique training program; offering an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that are in high demand around the globe. A skilled propagator is pivotal to the success of any viable nursery, and much of the information conveyed in this course would normally take years to discover by just working on the job. The quality of tutors who support and mentor you here is outstanding; having both advanced scientific training and exceptional practical experience in propagation of plants from cuttings.


ACS student comment:

I have learnt so much from this course. I have learnt how easy and how much material strikes and grows, if you follow the rules. I learnt to propagate bulb leaves and grow them on. There are so many more plants that can be propagated and its not hard to do. I hope more people take up the challenge. As I don't have the internet, it's good to be able to use what may be an old fashioned way of learning. Please don't change, I don't think I'm the only one wanting to elarn without the internet. 

Pauline Ross - Australia, Cutting Propagation course.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • The principles of propagating plants by cuttings.:Importance of cuttings
    • Phenotype and genotype
    • Why choose cutting propagation
    • Where to get cuttings from
    • Basic cutting technique.
  2. Stem cuttings
    • Ease with which tissue forms roots
    • Types of stem cuttings (softwood, hardwood, semi hardwood, herbaceous, tip, heel, nodal, cane etc)
    • Cutting treatments (eg. basal heat, mist, tent, etc)
    • Testing rooting, etc.
  3. Non-stem cuttings
    • Leaf cuttings
    • Root cuttings (natural suckering with or without division, Induced suckering, In situ whole root cuttings; ex situ detached root cuttings)
    • Bulb cuttings, scaling and twin scaling, sectioning, basal cuttage.
  4. Nursery Equipment and Materials
    • Stock plant Quality
    • Criteria for Selecting Plant Material
    • Planting Out Stock Plants
    • Care of Stock Plants
    • Stock Plants for Root Cuttings
    • Disinfecting cutting material
    • Sources of Hypochorite
    • Plant Containers
    • Tools and Equipment
  5. Growing Media
    • Propagation media
    • Biological, chemical and physical characteristics of propagation and potting media
    • Testing for toxins
    • Air filled porosity
    • Nutrition Management
    • Potting up cuttings
    • Soil-less mixes, rockwool, etc.
  6. Factors that Affect Root Formation
    • Juvenility
    • Cutting Treatments
    • Hormones and their application; auxins, cytokinins, gibberelins
    • Applying Hormone
    • Anti transparents, acid/base treatments, disinfectants etc
    • Callusing
    • Mycorrhizae
    • Carbon Dioxide Enrichment, etc.
  7. Establishing a Cutting Propagation Area
    • Creating and managing an appropriate cutting environment in terms of: Water; Disease; Temperature; Light and Air Quality.
    • Greenhouses and other structures, cloches, cold frames, greenhouses, etc
    • Watering methods (mist, fog, capillary etc)
    • Heating, etc.
    • The Nursery Site
  8. Managing Cutting Production
    • Estimating cost of production
    • Efficiencies in Cutting Propagation
    • Keeping records
    • Management


  • To familiarise the student with the principles of propagating plants by cuttings
  • To develop an understanding of how to propagate plants from stem cuttings
  • To develop an understanding of how to propagate plants from non-stem cuttings
  • To develop an understanding of the materials and equipment used for propagating plants from stems
  • To understand the principles of growing media in relation to cutting propagation
  • To understand how and why cuttings form roots. To learn how to manipulate the formation of roots on cuttings
  • To understand the principles for establishing successful plant propagation areas
  • To understand the principles of nursery crop scheduling.

What You Will Do

  • Establish an area near where you live that can be used for the raising of cuttings. It doesn't need to be a greenhouse, just a sheltered place where you can raise the cuttings you will be asked to grow for this course.
  • Select ten different plants that can be grown by stem cuttings. Practice preparing different types of cuttings until you feel you can do this well.
  • Place samples of your cuttings in a propagating mix and place in the propagation area. Keep the mix moist and observe the behaviour of the cuttings. (eg. does it put on new leaves? Do changes in temperature effect growth? Do any cuttings die? etc. ) Make notes of your observations. You will be asked questions about your results later in the course.
  • Prepare leaf cuttings for different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Prepare root cuttings for different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Prepare bulb cuttings for different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Place samples of cuttings in a propagating mix.
  • Visit three plant propagation nurseries and see if you can find out where they obtain their propagation material.
  • Test soil samples and name them.
  • Visit a local retail nursery and/or garden supply and determine out what rooting hormones they sell. determine what chemicals the products contain.
  • Visit different commercial greenhouses.
  • Prepare a pot of cuttings and estimate the cost of production for each cutting produced.

How Do You Succeed with Cuttings?
There are many factors that can affect your success. Here are a few of the issues you will find covered in both the course and the book.

Factors that affect Root Formation

Generally the ability to form roots easily or not so easily, appears to be cultivar specific (ie. this can vary significantly between two varieties of the same species), although there are usually general similarities that apply to most cultivars within a genus or species (always be aware that exceptions exist).
Often (not always) some characteristics, which alone only have a minor affect upon rooting, can act together and have a much more significant affect. For example, if you provide the ideal conditions for rooting but select cutting material at the wrong stage, rooting may be as good as if you selected material at the right stage. If you select material at the right stage, and get hormone treatment, propagating media, and cutting preparation correct, but don't have the temperature right, rooting may still occur, but slower; but when you get temperature AND type of cutting material wrong, the results might be very poor.
In hardwood winter cuttings, the level of dormancy may affect success. If taken late in winter, the cuttings will have been chilled already and the arrival of spring will encourage new foliage and root formation. Cuttings taken too early and not given the chance of dormancy may fail to initiate roots.
Juvenility refers to the age of material used for propagation.
Juvenile wood or tissues, are those plant materials which have grown recently. Material that is perhaps 6 months old, is usually considered juvenile; material that is 1 year old is less juvenile, and material 2 years old is even less juvenile. Juvenility is a relative thing, and what is juvenile for one species might be considered older wood for another.
As a general rule, juvenile cutting material is more likely to be healthier, more vigorous, and provide a higher strike rate. For some plants, excessively juvenile tissue is also very tender tissue, and highly subject to dehydration. As such, that material might not strike well because it will dehydrate and weaken extremely fast.
Eg: Cuttings taken from 3 year old Picea aibes trees can strike at more than double the rate of cuttings taken from a 12 year old tree.
Strike rates for many plants can be improved by pruning the stock plant to encourage sprouting of clean, vigorous and juvenile shoots that can be taken for cuttings.

Rejuvenation and stimulation of juvenile cutting material may be achieved by:
Stock Plants
Stock plants are those plants from which you take cuttings. Stock plants are frequently the most under rated aspect of cutting production.

If your stock plants are in poor condition:


  • Learn to be more successful, hence more productive with resources spent on cutting propagation.
  • Learn to choose the most appropriate material to grow cuttings from, for a large variety of different plant species
  • Improve the productivity of an existing plant nursery
  • Improve your personal value as a propagator in a plant nursery
  • Have greater control over your study - what you focus on, when and where you study, and at what time of day and what days and weeks of the year you do and do not study.
  • Improve your career and business prospects - for either self employment or working for someone else.
Member of the Future Farmers Network

Member of the International Herb Association since 1988

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

Accredited ACS Global Partner

Member of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association since 1993

Member of Study Gold Coast

Recognised since 1999 by IARC

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and edito

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Rosemary trained in Horticulture at Melbourne Universities Burnley campus; studying all aspects of horticulture -vegetable and fruit production, landscaping, amenity, turf, aboriculture and the horticultural sciences.
Initially she worked with the Depart

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves.
In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certif

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