I took a cutting from my hydrangea. I left two sets of leaves and plucked off the rest. I then stuck the plant into a blend of soil and perlite with two nodes under the soil. It has sprouted a few new leaves so I decided to transplant it, but when I took it out of the soil, It seems that instead of roots sprouting from the nodes, there were leaf buds there.

Leaf bud growing underground

As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any roots growing anywhere else. Should I leave it alone? Can it still work? Will it grow roots on its own? Should I chop the bud off?

Edit: I did this about two weeks ago, taking a cutting from a mostly dormant branch near the ground. I used the Schultz Take Root Rooting Hormone and dabbed it on the sides of the cutting, including the bud. I have no idea what kind of hydrangea it is, but it is this one. From the link it seems to be French Hydrangea.

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    Couple of critical pieces of information you haven't given - when did you do this cutting, and which particular Hydrangea is it? Also, which part of the plant did you take the cutting from, and did you use rooting hormone? – Bamboo Mar 15 '17 at 11:22
  • @Bamboo I did this about two weeks ago, taking a cutting from a mostly dormant branch near the ground. I used the Schultz Take Root Rooting Hormone and dabbed it on the sides of the cutting, including the bud. It seems to be French Hydrangea. – jkd Mar 15 '17 at 16:03

Your branch buds were already determined to be vegetative and not roots. Cut just above your bud node at an angle sloping down so water will drip off between the buds not on the buds. Leave a 1/4 inch above the buds and get rid of all above that node. Then stick it back into the soil...really should use sterile potting soil, don't make it yourself.

Keep your plant warm and cover pot and plant with saranwrap. Stick popsicle sticks to lift the plastic off your start. Before you make this little moisture house, moisten the soil, don't over wet. The pot should be no larger than 3" in diameter.

"Rooting hormone has been shown to not be effective". I AM REMOVING THIS PART OF MY COMMENT. But I used to use the powder and it made me feel better. Do not put this plant in the sun or too close to a grow light or it will cook. Give it a few more weeks. Shoot using those plastic drink cups for 'cocktails' with punched holes at the bottom would allow you to SEE the roots forming or not. Most people cut at least 5 or 6, 1/4" diameter chunks, each with a node and buds. They don't all make it usually. Good luck!

  • Just to be clear, like this? – jkd Mar 15 '17 at 22:30
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    Yes, Jake. How do you do that? Circle in red pen and re-post? I'd get a few more starts going as well. Small is better. Keep the node above the soil. And Bamboo's advice is correct. If this doesn't work try again next year! – stormy Mar 15 '17 at 23:23
  • I'm gonna try it. For the image, I just use Microsoft Paint then I upload it to a post then copy the URL and cancel the post. It's a hack job but it looks like they aren't going to change it. – jkd Mar 16 '17 at 2:03
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    Grins, I love starting a debate and reading what these plant geniuses (truly) have to say. The main thing is if one doesn't get the correct amount it is way worse than willy nilly purchasing any of the products to use. For your very woody start, I would try a powdered one, make sure you tamp it to get rid of excess. There are articles saying powdered ain't so great but heck. This is the reason you need more than one start. But you really need actively growing plants not those in dormancy...no harm in trying! This is all still in the experimental phase...good job, Jake!! – stormy Mar 16 '17 at 17:58
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    Heck, hope I helped a bit. Make no mistake, Ms. Bamboo and the others are brilliant! This is the best site to get plant information, bar none. I've checked other sites and they are lame. So much fun to get these genius plant people fired up! I learn an awful lot!! Huggs! – stormy Mar 16 '17 at 18:03

If you only did it a couple of weeks ago, that was a bit late for a hardwood cutting. You can follow Stormy's instructions regarding this particular cutting to give it a second chance, but you can also propagate Hydrangea from soft or semi ripe cuttings as well as hardwood, see link here, under propagation, which has secondary embedded links regarding how to do each type of cutting https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=122.

You will note from the link that climbing hydrangeas are best propagated by layering, but all the others are fairly easy from any type of cutting, done at the right time of year. Maybe try a soft cutting when the new growth has got going, or a semi ripe one later on, as well as giving the one you've done another chance.

  • I guess I'll try again next year if it doesn't work out. Although I'm in zone 10a so we essentially don't have seasons. This was my first time trying this and this site got me interested in being more than an average home owner gardener. – jkd Mar 16 '17 at 18:12
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    Well you don't have to wait till next year - you could try a soft and a semi ripe cutting this year, just in case the other one doesn't work – Bamboo Mar 16 '17 at 18:33

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