Gardenias are incredibly popular due to their gorgeous flowers. They produce stunningly attractive blooms with silky white colors and intoxicating fragrances.
Planting shrubs like gardenias is an excellent idea if you want to add some charm to your yard. It’s as they say, “No other plant captures the beauty of the South best than the gardenia.”
That said, you might be interested in growing gardenias from cuttings. But now you’re wondering if it’s possible to root gardenias in water.
Well, you’re in the right article.
Below, I’ll discuss all you need to learn about rooting gardenia cuttings in water. You’ll discover the best approaches and tips to get the best results when propagating gardenias using water.
Yes, They Can
Let’s address the elephant in the room first.
Yes, you can root gardenia cuttings in water. You just need to understand how to propagate them properly using this method to succeed.
Most houseplants can be propagated using this water technique. I often use water to reproduce my garden flowers, including some of my Philodendron and Monstera.
The best part is it doesn’t cost much and is easy to execute, too!
Take a Cutting
Taking a cutting from your gardenia bush is going to be the place to start. If you don’t get a good cut, then getting the results that you’re hoping for will be tough.
So, how to get a good cut?
First, ensure that you’re cutting from a very healthy plant. You should never try to propagate plants that are diseased or appear to be weak in some way.
Diseases usually pass down to the cutting. So, if your mother plant is unhealthy, there’s a high chance your budding flora will be sickly.
The next thing to know is how to cut the right way. Some people take the incorrect size or from the wrong spot of the plant and wonder why their seedlings don’t root well.
Here’s how you do it correctly:
Use a sharp gardening scissor to take the cutting at the tip of the branches. Ideally, the spot where the stem is green, also called softwood, because they’re healthiest and easiest to grow.
The length of your cuts should be at least five or six inches in length. I’d also suggest leaving several leaves on it for better growth.
That said, you’d still want to remove the leaves on the bottom half of the branch. You don’t want these leaves to be in the water and rot. Keep the top set of leaves intact.
By this part, I usually prepare the bottom half of the stem, the portion I’d put in the water, by cutting it at an angle or trimming it in the shape of a horseshoe.
Still, while not 100% necessary, it does allow it to absorb water easily. To get even better results, you can dip the end of the branch that you just cut in the rooting hormone so that it can develop strong roots quickly.
You can buy rooting hormones online or from a local nursery or garden center.
Mid-spring until late summer is the ideal time to take cuttings from your gardenia. It’s gardenia’s blooming season—the temperature is just right for the cuttings to root and grow.
Cut too late in the year, like in the fall, and you’ll likely get a dried-out cutting!
Set Up the Right Growing Conditions
Aside from perfect cutting, you’ll need to set up the right growing conditions for the plant. You can start by picking out a suitable container for the seedling branch.
Use a glass or plastic container with enough height to hold the stem. Ideally, you don’t want the container to be too tall because it’d be hard to get the gardenia cutting to stay in place.
Bottles actually work really well when you’re trying to propagate plants by rooting them in water. So, an old water or beer bottle sitting on your counter should be fine.
Just ensure that the bottle, glass, vase, or container is a good size for the cutting.
Once done, it’s time to fill the container with room-temperature water. The amount of water should be about one inch between the rim of the container and the top of the water.
Remember, you only want about two inches of the cutting submerged in the water.
If you’re using a rooting hormone, this amount of water should provide enough sustenance to the plant and not dilute the hormone entirely.
The next step is to wrap a damp paper towel around your cutting to keep it moist, as softwood dries quickly. Then, place the wrapped cutting into the bottle slowly.
Finally, you need to find a window to place your cutting. A window that gets lots of sunshine in the morning and is shady during the afternoon would be ideal.
Too much sunlight could kill a growing plant. So, a spot with bright indirect sunlight will be much better for the cutting, such as near an east-facing window or door.
How Long Will It Take for Roots to Form?
If all is going as planned, your gardenia branch should take approximately one month for roots to form. So, keep your eyes on the cutting within this time frame to ensure it’s doing well.
Don’t leave the cutting alone once you’ve placed it in the water. Neglect it for a few weeks, and you’ll end up with a wilted gardenia seedling!
Although it’s still a branch, regularly replacing its water is necessary. Your gardenia cutting needs that water to thrive.
Don’t wait for the water to run out, either. Top off your container with fresh water, or replace the supply entirely if you see murky debris floating in the water.
It’s also essential to keep checking in on the sunlight situation. You should ensure that the gardenia cutting isn’t receiving too much or too little sunlight.
If you find it struggling to grow some roots, it’s possible that you accidentally exposed it to too much sunlight, and you might need to relocate it.
That said, so long as you monitor the gardenia cutting consistently, it should be possible to avoid big problems. You just have to stay on top of things.
Mist the Plant Regularly
As you might already know, gardenias really like humid environments. It means that you don’t want the humidity levels to dip too much for the sake of the gardenia cutting.
If your humidity levels aren’t the best, one great option is to mist the plant regularly. Misting also helps keep its leaves clean and prevent pests, which is crucial at this stage of plant development.
So, get in the habit of checking your plant-ling and misting it so it grows faster.
There are other ways to raise the humidity levels in your home, of course. For instance, you could use a small humidifier to maintain the humidity around the container.
Some people go this route when they live in dry areas, but it’s unlikely that you would have a gardenia to make cuttings from if you live in a very dry climate.
Another idea is to create a greenhouse effect by placing a plastic bag over the cutting. This trick will help trap the heat around the container and regulate the humidity.
You’d need to use a moderately rigid type of plastic bag, such as the kind that seals up so that you can store sandwiches for lunch. Alternatively, you can use cut aluminum cans to accomplish the same thing.
Potting the Gardenia Cutting
The gardenia cutting should be strong enough to be placed in a pot after about a month.
If it looks like it’s doing well and you see that it has strong roots, then it’ll be ready to go in a pot without wilting or dying.
You’d want to start it out in a small pot filled with a nutrient-rich potting mix. You’ll need to water the gardenia once you’ve transferred it to its new home.
It’s necessary to keep the soil moist without getting it soggy. So, you’ll have to be proactive about checking the pot and preventing it from drying.
After several more months of careful care, you may plant your gardenia outside if you want to.
How can I make gardenia grow faster?
Fertilizer is a viable option to make your gardenia grow faster. Use an acidic, slow-release fertilizer like the ones for azalea and camelia flowers.
Feed the plant every two weeks, ideally in its growing season from March to October. This schedule will help boost the plant’s growth and produce lovely green leaves and silky blooms.
Is it better to root cuttings in soil or water?
Whether it’s better to root cuttings on soil or water depends on the type of plant you’re propagating. But in my experience, flowers develop better root systems in soil.
Still, rooting in water does provide plenty of advantages, such as it’s more convenient to maintain.
You now know that it’s possible to make gardenia cuttings grow roots in water. The steps discussed above will give you all the tools you need for great results.
Just remember to keep checking on the gardenia cutting and to avoid overlooking its health. You’ll have to keep giving it new water every now and then, but your efforts will be worth it in the end.
Propagating gardenias won’t be all that difficult when you understand what to do, and you can really get many beautiful plants for your yard this way!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.