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Japanese laurel cuttings are wonderful for propagation. They also allow the plant to grow better because it allows new growth to sprout. However, cutting and propagating a spotted laurel at the wrong time can cause long-lasting wounds, plant infections, and more.
You should take spotted laurel cuttings between July and September. Cut near the base of the stem, remove the debris and berries, then plant it in a new pot. It’s best to remove as many leaves near the bottom of the spotted laurel cutting as possible. This will leave room for new growth.
In this article, you’ll find out when and how you should take spotted laurel cuttings. You’ll also learn how to propagate a spotted laurel cutting for the best results.
Optimal Time for Propagating Spotted Laurels
The optimal time for propagating spotted laurels is late July. Not only does this timeframe ensure the plants are healthy and growing, but it also provides a big propagation window after getting the cuttings from the plant. Additionally, your spotted laurel will naturally seal its wounds since it grows a lot in the fall.
It’s best not to propagate a spotted laurel any time beyond late September (source). These plants grow a lot during the fall, then they sprout in early spring.
If you cut and propagate a spotted laurel during the winter, there’s a high chance the wounded laurel will develop an infection or fail to heal quickly enough.
Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to know how to take spotted laurel cuttings properly. Incorrect cuts will prevent the cutting from growing, not to mention the fact that it can damage the mother plant.
How To Take Spotted Laurel Cuttings
To take spotted laurel cuttings, follow this process:
- Water your spotted laurel one to two days prior to cutting it. Optimal hydration will allow the wound to heal quickly, but it’ll also make it easier to cut the spotted laurel. Furthermore, a hydrated stem will grow much quicker once you propagate it. The stem should be green and flexible.
- Cut a segment of up to six inches (15.24 cm) for the best propagation. There should be a large amount of the stem above the ground. However, it needs to be deep enough below the soil to help roots grow. The base should be thick enough to support the upper leaves.
- Remove the berries and lower leaves from the cuttings as quickly as possible. The berries serve no purpose; all they’ll do is remove moisture from the cutting. The same applies to the lower leaves. You should leave at least one or two leaves on the cutting, but don’t shy away from removing all of the lower ones.
- Use a tree wound sealer on the exposed portion of the spotted laurel if it’s dripping or larger than one centimeter. Tanglefoot Tree Wound Pruning Sealer (link to Amazon) plugs the wound on the cut spotted laurel, preventing it from getting infected.. Brush it on the wounded laurel to seal it from rain, bacteria, fungi, and more.
Cutting your spotted laurel is half of the propagation process. The last thing you want to do is cut the laurel and prevent it from growing back.
You can grow numerous spotted laurels from cuttings. In fact, most spotted laurels can be pruned close to the ground for countless cuttings, while still being able to grow back.
Can You Propagate Spotted Laurel Cuttings?
You can propagate spotted laurel cuttings by clipping the base of a new stem, removing the lower leaves, and planting it in healthy soil.
Make sure the base of the cutting is at least one to two inches (2.54 to 5.08 cm) below the surface. Never propagate a spotted laurel cutting that looks diseased, wilted, or brittle.
Here’s what you should know about spotted laurel propagation:
- Use quick-draining soil to prevent the roots from weakening or flooding. Spotted laurels develop root systems based on their water accessibility. If there’s too much water, the roots will be loose and thin because they don’t have to travel far to get hydration. If the soil drains properly, the roots will be thick and strong.
- Cut each of the leaves in half to help the roots allocate enough water. You should only have a few leaves on the cutting. Splitting each leaf prevents the new roots from struggling to hydrate everything above the surface.
- Use mid-sized pots to propagate spotted laurel cuttings before moving them to the yard. As with most plant cuttings, spotted laurels need to stay away from weeds, pests, and strong weather conditions before rooting and being transplanted. Once the roots grow several inches, you can plant the laurel in the yard.
How Long Do Spotted Laurel Cuttings Take To Grow Roots?
Spotted laurel cuttings take between two to three weeks to grow roots. It may take two to three months to see above-ground growth.
It all depends on the health, age, and thickness of the cuttings. Furthermore, healthy, hydrated, well-draining soil promotes much better growth for spotted laurel propagation.
Below, you’ll find a handful of reasons your spotted laurel cuttings aren’t growing roots:
- You might’ve propagated the spotted laurel during the wrong time of the year.
- Root rot and many other infections will prevent cuttings from spreading roots.
- Short cuttings that can’t support themselves under the soil won’t root quickly.
- There’s not enough water or nutrients in the soil.
- The soil’s pH is too low or high (most spotted laurels grow well between 4.5 to 7.5, though it can vary based on the time of year and climate).
The good news is that you can take several cuttings from your spotted laurel without causing any permanent damage.
Cutting and propagating a spotted laurel is quite simple for green thumbs and beginners alike. These plants are resilient. They can easily grow from cuttings, making them great for people who haven’t propagated other plants in the past.