Growing established plants by purchasing them from nurseries is a source of instant satisfaction of being able to harvest your fruit rather quickly. Everyone who loves gardening knows how much patience you require to see a plant grow.
A fruit tree can be interestingly pricey and a lot pricey if you plan to set up an orchard. Most people prefer to grow fruits from seeds they purchase from the grocery store. However, it is important to note that fruit trees do not thrive from seeds. Fruits grown from seeds barely resemble the original fruit and are raw inedible versions of the fruits into which we expect them to grow.
However, propagating your own fruit from cuttings cuts down your costs significantly while allowing you to grow your favorite fruits. All you need to do is to prepare a healthy plant from where you can take the cuttings.
It has been a tradition for about a hundred years to propagate varieties of fruit trees clonally, not from seeds but cuttings. The method allows you to combine different varieties of fruit trees to create the desired variety.
To complicate things even more, making the cuttings effective, the fruit tree cuttings need to be grafted on a specific rootstock to be propagated separately. Grafting, however, is a complex method of growing fruit trees as compared to cuttings. The method of grafting is specific to some fruiting trees only.
Rather, cuttings can be easier to root directly, making your fruiting trees grow faster.
If what you’re planning is to grow fruit tree guilds or fruit forests that are inexpensive, more so if you’re growing perennial crops, the method of growing from cuttings will work best for you.
Also, fabulous varieties or even local varieties can be derived from cuttings that are pricey at the store and are rare to find. Amazing, right?
It is, however, crucial that you choose plant types and varieties suitable to your surrounding environment, climate, and sun conditions.
In this post, you’ll learn some of the types of fruits you can grow from cuttings while adhering to certain considerations. You’ll also learn various methods to grow fruit trees and how growing fruit trees from cuttings is the easiest. Before digging in deep, let’s take a quick look at the basic steps to follow for growing fruit trees from cuttings.
Table of Contents
Basic Guide To Growing Fruiting Trees From Cuttings
A 6 to 8 inch cutting from a healthy branch of an existing good-quality fruit tree would be the first thing to get for this procedure. Ensure that the quality plant you choose has at least two nodes, and the diameter of the cutting should be around 1/4 to 3/8 inches.
The lower part of the cutting will be the rooting medium, with one node above and the other below the ground. During the dormant season, preferably the late winter, potting soil or loose garden soil will help stick the cuttings in. However, the growing season will bear more fruitful results if you root them in perlite.
This would require you to go through two extra steps:
- You need to remove all the leaves leaving the top two and cut the rest in half to reduce from their surface the moisture lost due to evapotranspiration while the roots are forming.
- It would be best to keep the cuttings warm and moist. A quick trick – take a plastic band and secure a plastic bag with it making a mini-greenhouse. Later, you can use a sprinkler to maintain the humidity inside.
When the cuttings start growing, it indicates a substantial root system has grown below, and it’s time to shift the rooted cutting.
Now that you’ve had the gist of how to go about it let’s dive in for an in-depth understanding.
List Of Fruit Trees That Grow From Cuttings
While you’re quite familiar with the variety of fruit trees available in the market, however, ascertaining which fruits can thrive from cuttings will cut off your costs while making the process simply easier. Read below a list of 8 types of fruit trees that you can consider growing from cuttings.
1. Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)
Blueberries are one of the most common fruits preferred in the country. These fruits can be propagated using hardwood or softwood. Choose the spring month to cut the softwood twigs from the open end of the existing healthy bushes. You can also take the cuttings from hardwood canes during the mid of the dormant season.
It would be best to root the blueberry cuttings in a growing medium with a low pH value. Make sure to keep it moist and not over wet. During the summer months, these cuttings will need fish and seaweed fertilizer regularly. Next in spring, these cuttings would be best to be planted.
2. Currant (Ribes spp.)
Currant is rare yet a juicy fruit preferred by many. To grow Currant trees, you need 12-inch cuttings from a late winter wood that is at least a year old. Stick one-third of its stem into the soil. Use potting soil for faster effects as long as you keep them moist in the shade. Next, in autumn, transfer these plants to their permanent location.
3. Fig (Ficus)
Although not that common for beginners, yet Figs can be a great fit for your fruit forest. For Figs, take cuttings from half-inch branches of healthy fig branches about 8-meter long, and do it during early spring. Root the fig cuttings in potting soil and keep the soil moist enough and not too wet or not too dry.
Before you plant the plant outside, wait till early summer arrives and the weather has become relatively warm, showing new growth.
If you choose to propagate fig trees in late winter, you’ll be making a wise choice as Figs are the easiest grown fruit trees from their cuttings. For figs, you can cut a longer piece of cuttings in length and bigger in diameter before you stick them to the ground in their permanent location.
Figs are also the fastest fruit-bearing trees grown from a cutting. You have the choice to maintain these figs in the form of a 6-foot bush while you let them grow in containers indoors during the winters, or you can let them grow about 20-30 feet tall.
4. Mulberry (Morus)
Mulberries can be grown from cuttings by cutting out a 12-inch long stem from a soft branch during the late winter, and make sure to root them in a growing medium within a container. You must keep the soil growing Mulberry cuttings moist enough.
When the cutting starts to grow while the temperature has warmed up outside, you can transfer the plant outside in a sunny place. Watering it at least once every day is crucial to maintain the soil’s moisture and the mist of the above-ground growth. During the next fall, you can plant the cuttings in their permanent location.
A pro tip here would be to choose cultivated varieties for cuttings so that they are best fruitful. Consider taking cuttings from a range of varieties, even wild mulberries, to increase the probabilities of growing few trees at a minimum to complement amongst themselves for pollination and fruit set.
Mulberries are actually prevalent fruits grown in jelly gardens for making jelly.
5. Elderberry (Sambucus)
It would be best if you took softwood cuttings for elderberry during the early summer, being selective about the green and pliable shoots. Use potting soil mix for these cuttings and make sure to keep the soil moist, more so till the cuttings take root.
Potting them will let you place the plant outside in a period of three months. Elderberry shrubs make an excellent fit for edible hedgerows.
6. Olive (Olea europaea)
The evergreen trees, Olives, cannot be propagated using the dormant season method. For olives, you should take cuttings during the spring, and you’ll be amazed to see their rapid growth up to 30 feet and more, although they’re restricted in areas above 20 degrees of temperature during the winters.
7. Blackberries/Raspberries (Rubus/Rubus idaeus)
Blackberries and Raspberries can be grown in types between a shrub and a shot vine and may require some trellis to support them. You can propagate these fruit trees using cuttings. However, there is still an easier way.
You’ll find the development of little sprouts in a mature bunch of berries when their planting results in their outward expansion. It is easy to separate them from the mother plant, vertically slicing them on the ground to cut its roots and then transferring the sprouts with its own set of intact roots. Make sure to plant them in their permanent location soon, and you shall see sooner fruit bearing from these trees.
It is always best to think a step ahead in certain matters like this. There are 25 to 75 percent chances of successful results in growing fruit trees from cuttings. The best choice will be to take as much as 10 cuttings so that you can propagate more than required and share them in your neighborhood, maybe even receive feedback?
8. Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Pomegranates are the favorite fruit of many, and they bear remarkable health benefits as well. Spring sees the growth of beautiful 12-foot long pomegranate deciduous shrubs bearing huge red flowers.
The good thing is, pomegranates can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees. You can propagate your pomegranate fruit trees by taking the cutting from varieties of the main plant and grow them, if you want to, in a pot.
Methods For Propagating Fruit Trees From Cuttings
Saving seeds is a fabulous practice, and every budding grower should have a personal seed bank. Such trees are better propagated through cuttings. This is similar to many such fruit trees as they won’t produce fruits similar to the parent plant.
You can surely plant a variety of species and encourage the sowing of wild oats, but also be thoughtful about the type of fruit borne by the apple trees you’ve planted. Not seeds, but cuttings provide you with parent replications of the apples, so it is best to use them.
The present-day has seen the tradition of getting new plants from the nursery that grow up to be fruit trees bearing fruits and maybe even some kind of flowers. However, planting by propagating from cuttings has proved to be inexpensive and innovative, producing the desired combination of larger harvests.
Below are the various ways following which you can grow fruit trees from cuttings easily. Let’s look into them.
You can root fruit trees from cuttings from the options of softwood or semi-hardwood. Make use of a distinctly sharp knife to cut a tree branch, at least 15 centimeters long but shorter than 30. Take off any leaves or buds away from the below part of the cutting. Once done, you can stick them into the rooting hormone and add a moist rooting medium to be kept damp and try to keep the rooting cuttings around 21 degrees of temperatures. While you’re into them, stay clear about the below pointers.
- Softwood cuttings are seen during the spring with new and green branches and the absence of blossoms. These cuttings are usually flexible yet fragile and can dry out pretty quickly. Therefore, softwood cuttings should be transferred using moist paper towels before planting them. You should see the formation roots towards the end of the month.
- Semi-hardwood cuttings are seen during early summer when the bark overtakes the green, and the new growth develops hardness. These are, by the time, still somewhat pliable for use and may get dry easily. The roots for semi-hardwood cuttings may not be able to hold much before a course of six weeks.
- Hardwood cuttings may take a duration of about six weeks to develop roots. They are also likely to need a mini-greenhouse method that also looks after the above-ground mist. Make sure to take these cuttings during the dormant growth from the higher end of branches with new growth.
Once the cuttings develop roots reaching three centimeters deep, you can place the planting pots using potting soil. It would be best to plant them at the same depths as their roots and protect them from any weather extremes within a year.
2. Rooting Hormones and Rooting Medium
You will find available options for natural rooting hormones. Human spit is a great example. You can also use diluted organic apple cider vinegar to nurture plant growth and protect them from bacteria. Cinnamon is another great option, and it helps protect the plant from fungal and bacterial problems.
You can often use cinnamon along with willow water to encourage root growth. The rooting mediums should, however, be light and absorbent without the involvement of any soil. The roots developed should have enough space and seepage to spread out in the presence of enough water.
A pro tip here would be to use coarse sand, along with perlite and vermiculite, as well as Sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir, whichever is easily available.
3. Roots Without Cuttings
One of these options is to root without cuttings. Air layering is a method that leaves out the cutting part of the stem. This method proves to be beneficial for trees that are difficult to root.
Take a section of the branch during spring from below a leaf nodule and as big in diameter as a pen. With the help of a sharp knife, cut the branch into slices half a centimeter below the leaf nodule and further three centimeters. You need to make sure to separate a strip of the bark and not cutting off the wood.
You can use the rooting hormone on the stripped part of the branch. Then, what you need to do is to cover its confined area in moist Sphagnum moss or coconut coir wrapped in plastic with twine or cut rubber bands. Bear in mind that the area has to be kept moist throughout the growing season.
When the roots develop, you can cut off the branch below them while transferring the rooted cutting to a pot. While you implement this method, you need to consider checking if the host tree was previously grafted. The grafted trees do not have similar qualities to the rootstock, making it difficult to root their cuttings.
The grafting method can be extensively fruitful, especially when practiced on a wide scale to create original hybrid trees that are true to their nature. Grafting can be implemented on plants grown from seed or relying on the rootstock to acquire better native varieties.
What needs to be done is for you to select a scion and mingle it with the host plant with developed roots, and you’ll have your new tree all grown. Grafting differs from cuttings. Cuttings involve roots developed from the real piece of wood of the mother plant. It is also a faster method of propagation with no seed included in the process.
Tips To Help You Propagate Fruit Crops For Free
You can place almost all the above-mentioned fruit crops in their permanent locations six months after their cuttings are taken. However, you can also use them in containers for two years or more by increasing the containers’ size when required.
Instead of placing them near some heavy weed or deer pressure, containing them would secure their faster success. Read below the things you need to consider before taking up fruit cropping from cuttings.
1. Steer Clear of Disease Spread
Healthy plants can be the source of better stem cuttings. Make use of high-quality pruners that were disinfected before and after each cutting. Some high-quality pruners are Felco F7 designed for large hands, Felco F 12 for medium hands, and Felco F 17 for left-handers.
2. Reassure Effectiveness
Make sure to keep checking if the cuttings have developed their root. You’ll know when it happens from the growth of new leases. However, since cuttings’ progress rate is low, it would be best to grow 4-5 cuttings for each desired plant.
For instance, you might want to consider growing about 20-25 cuttings for you to grow about five bushes. 1-3 gallon pots will contain 4-5 cuttings in each. Look at the bright side- keeping such considerations brings you no loss, but you’ll be ended up with extra cuttings you may gift to your neighbors.
You may accelerate the process using rooting hormone. However, for the aforementioned fruits here, you won’t be needing this method.
3. Water! Water! Water!
Make sure to water the cuttings regularly and that they are grown under shady conditions, except needed otherwise. It would help if you didn’t let the cuttings get too dry, especially before their rooting begins.
4. Setting Up A Greenhouse Environment
Cuttings are best grown in warm sunny windows, greenhouses, cold frames, on a seedling heat mat, under a bottomless 2-liter bottle, or securing a plastic bag over the cutting. It is best to keep the cuttings’ environment warm and humid. You can use the following suggestions to implement such conditions.
- If grown in a greenhouse, remember to spray your cuttings with water to keep them moist throughout the growing season. Everyday watering of cuttings can prove only to be more beneficial for them.
- Make sure to conduct thorough research of the fruits that you’re planning to grow.
Having propagated your own fruits from cuttings proves to be inexpensive and effective, paving ways to grow your desired fruit crops from different combinations.
Making the considerations of which method suits best your desired type of fruit grown and implementing the necessary measures, you’ll be able to grow a fruit forest of your choice.
Enjoy growing your own orchard!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.