Shrub Cuttings *


I have cuttings (forsythia, boxwood) I planted in soil pots Sept 10, they should be rooted by now.  Should I leave them in the pots for the winter or should I plant before the ground freezes? Also can I bring some indoors to grow over winter and plant in the spring?…thanks!


Congratulations on propagating your forsythia and boxwood by cuttings.  This is a great skill to have in your gardening repertoire.   Forsythia is generally considered relatively easy to root in this way, while boxwood may be a little more temperamental.   Given the timing, your challenge will be to decide whether to overwinter your new shrubs indoors, or whether they are far enough advanced to put them into the ground before it freezes.

In the Toronto area, September to early October is considered the optimal time to plant your newly rooted cuttings in the garden, which means you would have had to have started the process earlier in the season.  New cuttings, once rooted, will thrive best if they have a good head start in the garden before the soil freezes.  Since your cuttings may not be reliably rooted until November, you are right to think about overwintering.  Some experts say that you can do this by moving your pots into the garage, or into a cold part of your basement allowing them to go dormant over the winter, and moving them outside gradually in the spring.  Alternatively, if your cuttings root quickly (you can tell this by tugging them gently) and if we have a mild fall, you could consider transplanting them into a sheltered spot in your garden, making sure they are well protected by a layer of mulch.  Gentle temperatures through the fall and a relatively mild winter may help your new plants to survive outdoors.

If your cuttings don’t thrive this year, don’t give up, but try again next year.  Here is a  link you may find useful: