Select Healthy Cuttings: Choose healthy flame willow stems for propagation. Look for young, flexible shoots that are around 6 to 8 inches long. Make sure the cuttings have several leaf nodes along their length.
Prepare the Cuttings: Use clean and sharp pruning shears to make a clean cut just below a leaf node on each cutting. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting, leaving a few leaves at the top for photosynthesis.
Apply Rooting Hormone (Optional): While not strictly necessary, you can dip the cut end of each cutting into a rooting hormone powder to encourage root development. Gently tap off any excess powder.
Place in Water: Fill a glass or vase with clean, room-temperature water. Submerge the cut ends of the flame willow cuttings in the water, ensuring that the leaf nodes you left on the cutting are above the waterline.
Create a Humid Environment: Cover the cuttings and the container with a clear plastic bag or plastic wrap. This helps create a humid environment that promotes root growth. Make sure the plastic doesn’t touch the leaves of the cuttings.
Find a Suitable Location: Place the container in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this could cause the water to heat up too much and harm the cuttings.
Monitor and Change Water: Check the water level regularly and ensure it remains at an appropriate level. Change the water if it becomes cloudy or stale, usually every few days.
Wait for Root Growth: Over the next few weeks, the flame willow cuttings should start developing roots. You may notice small white root buds emerging from the leaf nodes. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months.
Transplanting: Once the cuttings have developed a sufficient root system (several inches long), they are ready to be transplanted into soil. Prepare pots with well-draining soil and gently plant the rooted cuttings. Water them well after transplanting.
Acclimatize to Outdoor Conditions: If you’re planning to eventually plant the flame willow outdoors, gradually acclimate the new plants to outdoor conditions by exposing them to increasing amounts of sunlight and outdoor air over the course of a week or two.