Successfully Grow Hydrangeas From Just Leaves With This Genius Gardening Hack

If you have a beautiful hydrangea plant in your garden, or perhaps you lust over the one growing in your neighbor's garden, did you know that you can grow a whole new hydrangea plant simply by propagating a leaf cutting? That's right, all you need is a leaf — obviously, you should ask permission from your neighbor before taking one from their plant!

Hydrangeas are prone to wilting due to drought stress; often, the soil is too dry. When propagating plant cuttings, they need a constant source of moisture. Most people have plenty of luck when propagating from cuttings left in a cup of water. Hydrangeas are a bit different, though, because the stems are woody. Hardwood propagation is best done in a gritty compost, but keeping your cuttings moist for the six weeks it takes for roots to grow is challenging in this type of substrate. So you need a sneaky little garden hack like this one that helps the plant retain moisture while the roots develop. It involves using a potato!

How to propagate hydrangea leaves with a potato

The best time to propagate hydrangeas is between spring and late summer when the plant has the strongest leaves, full of life and vitality. This is especially important if you're using the leaf propagation method. It's essential to keep the soil moist at all times to ensure that the delicate new roots don't dry out. A YouTube short by @treeplant demonstrates how you can use potato slices to help keep the new roots of your hydrangea leaves hydrated.

You will need a large potato, leaf cuttings with stems, a sharp knife, and a pot full of moist substrate. First, slice your potato into thick disks. They should be thick enough to cut a slit in from the side where the skin is. Do this for each slice, with one slice per leaf cutting. Make sure to cut out the eyes! Next, choose healthy leaves and tuck the stems into the potato pockets you've just cut. The pockets should be narrow slits that hold the stem snugly to help the cutting remain stable when the roots begin to grow. Finally, tuck each potato slice with its leaf into the plant pot, covering the whole potato with the soil. The potato slices will provide water and nutrients to your leaf cuttings, and because you cut out the eyes, the potato won't grow into a potato plant. Instead, the potato will degrade into the soil.