Growing plum from cuttings


I recently picked up some branches that had been pruned off of plum trees, in the hopes that they’d grow. I’ve never done this before and tried to follow some directions I found online, but I had no rooting hormone nor sand or soil. So for now they’re in a vase, I put some aloe vera and cinnamon in the water as per some tips I found online.

The branches have now been hanging out in the water for about 2 weeks and the thicker branches haven’t shown any change, but the thinner ones are growing super fast. There are leaves and buds but no roots yet. I’m wondering, since they seem to be doing OK, do I leave them in water, or is it better to get them into sand ASAP? Do I snip off the buds? I’ll note that I’m in an apartment with no garden, so planting outside is out of the question.

The cuttings are from an orchard near Bordeaux, and I am near Paris, France.
Really any advice would be appreciated!

Here are some photos…
Photo from 4 days ago, to show speed of growth:


(I had to divide my post into parts because of the images)

And some photos from today :

Last photo…

Thanks so much for any help!!!

So I have mostly only failed to root fruit. It’s my understanding that water roots generally rot and need to be replaced with real roots. I believe what you are more or less shooting for is for the callous to form under water and then moving them to a solid medium to root. Does the cut show any callusing? Whitish rough lumpy fresh growth?

Thank you for your reply. There is no callusing as far as I can tell.

So, bright side, you learned a lovely method of forcing blossoms to see new varieties or for decoration. It’s not super promising. Fertilize the water lightly so they don’t just use up all their energy and keep them somewhere warm and evenly lit and pray for callusing.

OK thank you. Anything I can do for the thicker cuttings? Should I try planting them?

Most stone fruit are difficult to root from cuttings (although there are some exceptions). From your photos, these seem to be cuttings of a European plum (Prunus domestica). I doubt they will root. Likely, they will use the stored energy and then eventually die, unfortunately.

The standard way of clonally propagating plum trees is to graft a dormant cutting onto a rootstock. You can buy a rootstock or grow your own from a seed. For grafting a Euro plum, a seedling of any Euro plum or myrobalan plum (cherry plum) can be used as a rootstock.

It’s going to be hard. I’d try more or less what they do for figs. Wrap the top in plastic film or dip them into wax. Half Fill a plastic tub with damp NOT wet sterile potting mix. Lightly scrape about an inch long strip to expose bark. Place them at a severe angle with the strip down and very lightly buried, almost flat. Make sure at least one bud is under dirt. Cover the tub with wrap and put it somewhere warm until buds emerge, then someplace bright but not direct sun.

Your best luck will be that you get little roots formed on the buried bud, but you may get lucky and get rooting on the strip. If you have hormones, hit them with that on the strip.


Thanks @Stan and @MisterGuy! I’m out of town at the moment, will give this all a try in a week.


Those are hard to root. I am experimenting with cuttings myself. I did have reasonable success with rooting cuttings from Mirabelle de Nancy (25% success). Until now I did not have success with other varieties of E. plums.

That said I see no chance in rooting those cuttings in a glas of water. You need a more sophisticated setup, since rooting takes a lot of time and you have to keep the cutting alive all that time. It is not able to take up enough water without roots. So I am using a misting chamber. Whatever you do, the cuttings need a humidity of 100% or they will use up all its reserves and die. You also have to prevent mold.

Don’t remove growing buds/tips. But you need to remove flower buds/flowers.

Plus in general I’d say it is the younger wood, rooting more easily. If your cuttings fail this time, next time try again in late June with more green wood (wood that is starting to lignify). For Mirabelle de Nancy hardwood cuttings are working to some extend, but even with them it is last years wood.