How to Propagate Petunias From Cuttings in 7 Simple Steps

Petunias are a common garden flower that make their appearance in many gardens during the spring. But did you know you can propagate these lovely plants and make even more for your garden? In this article, gardening expert Paige Foley shares a few easy steps to follow when propagating petunias in your garden this season.

A close-up reveals a vibrant array of colorful blooms on potted petunias, ranging from pristine white to delicate shades of pale pink, pale blue, vibrant red, and deep purple, creating a captivating mixture of hues. The petunias also feature delicate tiny green leaves, adding a touch of freshness to the scene. The orange pot provides a striking contrast to the lively blooms, while other potted plants of the same variety can be seen placed beside and behind it.


Many gardeners know you can grow petunias from seed or purchase seedlings from a garden center, but did you know you can propagate by cutting? Petunias are versatile plants easily grown in borders, landscapes, containers, and vegetable gardens. You can easily propagate them to fill empty spaces during the season.

Propagating by cutting will help fill in gaps in the garden, saves money, and yields blooms quicker than seeds. Also, you will get an exact clone of your cut petunias. When you grow petunias by seed, there’s a chance they will revert to one of the parents. Growing from cuttings guarantees you the same flower color as the original plant. 

If you are looking for a cheap way to grow more flowers, consider giving propagation by cutting a try. Let’s explore how to properly propagate petunias by cutting for a vibrant floral display. 

Cutting vs. Seeds 

Nestled within an orange pot, rich dark soil cradles a sprouting petunia plant, showcasing its early growth. The plant's tiny stem bravely emerges, accompanied by a few delicate leaves, as it begins its journey towards maturity. The contrast between the dark soil and the young plant's tender greenery creates a visually pleasing sight.
Vegetative cuttings can be a cost-effective way to fill large areas and enjoy early blooms of petunias.

Many gardeners grow petunias by seed or purchase starters from a garden center. Purchasing is easier, and you typically have flowers instantly. Growing by seed is time-consuming, and you might not always yield the expected flowers. 

Garden centers only carry a limited variety of petunias each year. Growing petunias from seed will allow you to grow different varieties that aren’t always available in seedlings. Plus, seeds can be purchased online, giving you even more options of varieties you can grow

If you are growing a particular variety that is difficult to find or is rare, propagation is a proven way to get more of that specific petunia. Garden centers will eventually sell out of plants, and propagation is a great way to add more flowers after the garden centers have sold out. 

Vegetative propagation is when you cut stems from your existing petunia plants and root them. By planting cuttings, you will yield blooms and foliage much quicker than seed. Cuttings are ideal when you need many flowers to fill the area, as it is much cheaper than purchasing potted plants. 

Flowers can get expensive if you are trying to fill large areas. Cuttings will help cut back on costs (no pun intended!) and give you beautiful blooms earlier. Here’s how to grow successful petunia cuttings every time:

Step 1: Gather Materials 

On a wooden plank table, several potted petunias are accompanied by a petunia cutting displaying green leaves and red blooms. The table is also adorned with gardening gloves, a pair of pruning shears, and a mini gardening shovel, suggesting a nurturing environment for these flourishing plants.
Being prepared beforehand is crucial when taking the cuttings.

Begin by gathering the materials necessary to grow your cuttings. Preparation is essential so you can determine if you need additional supplies. I hate when I start a project and realize I am missing something. You need to be prepared because, once you take your cuttings, the stems won’t last long when removed from the mother plant. 

You will need:

  • Rooting hormone
  • A sharp knife or shears
  • Potting soil
  • A container
  • A tray or bin
  • A plastic dome or plastic wrap
  • Water

Rooting hormone is not required but will help your cuttings establish well in their new containers

If you are making a DIY propagation greenhouse, you may need additional tools or materials to make a functioning greenhouse. There are many great examples online that are relatively cheap and still functional. 

Step 2: Make Your Cuts 

A hand confidently holds a black pruning shear on one side while gently cradling a petunia plant stem on the other. The stem showcases white and pink blooms, complemented by small green leaves. The hand's careful grip ensures the delicate beauty remains intact.
Cut the stems halfway down just above the leaves to create a fuller petunia.

Once you are ready to begin propagating, choose the variety or varieties you wish to make your cuttings from. Next, identify the wilting or leggy stems. These types of stems need to be removed anyway for a healthy petunia plant. 

If you propagate more than one variety, keep them separate and labeled. If there are no flowers on the cuttings, it will be difficult to determine the variety.  You will eventually figure out what’s what once they set flowers. 

You will cut the stems about halfway down the length of the entire stem, just above a set of leaves. You are looking for new growth points (nodes) along the stem. Nodes are where leaves meet the stems. Cutting in this specific spot will help your original petunia grow fuller. 

Step 3: Strip Leaves and Dip In Root Hormone 

Inside a rectangular container made of wooden planks, numerous potted petunia cuttings rest. The cuttings, devoid of buds or blooms, have had their leaves stripped from the lower portion of the green stem. A hand appears, placing one of the cuttings in a black pot filled with rich, dark soil, preparing it for growth.
Using root hormones is advantageous as it increases the chances of success for your cuttings.

After you’ve made all your cuttings, you will want to strip the leaves from the bottom portion of the stem. Where the leaves once were is where your new roots will emerge. Leave a small cluster of leaves at the top

At this time, you will want to remove any buds or blooms from the stem. This will allow the plant to focus on growing roots versus producing buds and seeds. 

After stripping the leaves, you can place the stems into root hormone. Rooting hormone can be found at garden centers and online. It comes in gel, powder, and liquid form, and all types are effective.

You do not need to dip the ends of cuttings in rooting hormone, but it is beneficial. The hormones aid in root production, making the cuttings more likely to succeed.

Step 4: Pot Your Cuttings 

Several potted plants grace the surface of a white table, showcasing an assortment of potted petunias in various stages of growth. As cuttings, these petunias are adorned with lush green leaves, illustrating their potential for future blooming. The pots exhibit a range of earthy tones, including brown, black, orange, yellow, and blue.
Plant the cuttings in suitable containers and ensure they are adequately watered.

Once you have made all your cuttings and optionally added root hormone, plant the cuttings into the appropriate containers. Water the soil in your containers before planting to make them easier to work with. 

Make an indentation into the soil using your finger or the end of a pen. Then, place the cut stems into the soil. Cover the bottom of the stems with soil and place them in a proper location. Water more if necessary

Step 5: Place in a Proper Location 

In propagation trays, numerous potted petunia cuttings find their place. The vibrant green leaves of the cuttings promise future growth and blossoms. The arrangement, seen within the confines of a greenhouse, ensures optimal conditions for nurturing these potential beauties.
Keep them in a cool environment to ensure the survival of cuttings.

Keep cuttings in a relatively cool place. If grown in an area that is too warm, they will dry out too quickly and die. Once you’ve identified a location, place a plastic dome or plastic wrap over the cuttings. This will create a greenhouse effect without having a greenhouse. 

Be sure the dome and plastic wrap have proper ventilation. You don’t want the plastic touching your petunia plants, which can cause the leaves to become mushy and die. If you have a greenhouse, place your cuttings in a greenhouse unless the temperature becomes too warm. 

Provide direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day and water frequently. Allowing seedlings to become too dry or wet will cause them stress, and they will struggle to survive. It’s important to keep a close eye on your seedlings to catch any problems that might arise.

Step 6: Transplanting 

With both hands, a person firmly holds a black pot while carefully removing a petunia seedling, ensuring its roots remain intact for transplantation. The background, slightly blurred, reveals the earthy brown soil, highlighting the process of nurturing and caring for the young plant.
Roots that have grown outward indicate that plants are strong enough for transfer.

Within 3 to 4 weeks, your petunias should be ready for transplanting into their permanent home. If you’re curious whether the cuttings are ready, gently remove them from their container, soil and all. When you see roots towards the outside, the plants have established good roots and are ready for transfer.  

You will want to acclimate your petunias to the outdoors before leaving them out permanently. This process is called hardening off and can be beneficial for the plant.

Over a week, slowly place your petunia seedlings outdoors to acclimate to being outside. Increase the time outdoors each day until they are outside for most of the day. 

This will help them adjust easier and create less stress so they thrive when finally left outdoors. This process isn’t always necessary. When growing your cuttings in a greenhouse, you typically don’t have to harden them off. Greenhouses are close to natural outdoor conditions. If the plants were growing indoors in a house or garage, consider slowly moving them outdoors so you don’t shock them.

Step 7: Post-Transplant Care 

A close-up shot highlights the beauty of a potted petunia plant, focusing on its delicate pink blooms and lush green leaves. The plant thrives within the rich dark soil contained in a silver gray pot, which provides an elegant contrast to the vibrant colors. Neatly placed beside it are other potted plants of the same variety.
To promote deep root growth, give your petunias a thorough watering.

Once you have transitioned your petunias outdoors and they seem to thrive well, monitor them for any issues. They will need proper sunlight and water to produce lush foliage and endless blooms. Petunias require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day. Planting them where they receive 8 hours of light or more is best. 

Give your petunias a good soaking a few times a week to encourage deep root development. Pots and hanging baskets might require more frequent watering, so monitor them daily. Pruning is also necessary to keep petunias happy and healthy. Every week you must trim back leggy stems to keep bloom production high. 

If you live in cooler regions, petunias will die once the first frost hits in the late fall. If you live in warmer regions, you can expect your petunias to bloom continuously all year long. No matter where you grow petunias, they all need the same basic requirements to thrive. 

Final Thoughts 

If you want to multiply the petunias in your yard while saving money, consider propagating petunias by cutting. It’s rather simple and a great plant to start your propagation journey. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, petunias are a great plant to propagate and will provide endless color all year or summer long. 

A close-up of a petunia plant reveals a wilted purple bloom being gently held by a hand. The vibrant pink and purple blooms stand out against the backdrop of lush green leaves. However, a few blooms are showing signs of wilting, their vibrant colors fading.


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