Propagating Mulberries from Cuttings

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Propagating mulberries seems to be one of the easier plants to get started with. This may come as no surprise to those who have mulberries and have seen them layer themselves on the ground all on their own. At least around here, basically if a mulberry touches soil a new mulberry will grow roots.

The way I have propagating mulberries is about as easy of a way as one can so I figured I’d share this oh so secret lazy approach.

Select a Mulberry Tree

A black mulberry tree. Or bush rather.

Take a Soft or Hardwood Cutting

Here is an example of a softwood cutting which is effectively new growth from this year. I have also had success with older wood as well up to about the thickness of a finger. I have not tried wood older than 1-2 years old, so I can’t comment on that.


About a 2 foot cutting, good for at least 3-5 cuttings.

Remove All Leaves, Except Maybe the Topmost One

All leaves should be stripped from each cutting that will be rooted. In the example shown, I have cut the piece into about 6 inches long and have left only the top most leaf.

All but the top leaf has been stripped.

If Leaving Leaves, Remove Most of the Leaf Surface

This seems to surprise people, but if you’re taking a cutting and leaving any leaves on it, remove a majority of the leaf surface. The leaf surface is where a plant loses moisture to evaporation which occurs in the photosynthesis process. If your cuttings are losing too much moisture the leaves will dry out and brown out first as its trying to save itself, indicating too much leaves were left on. Often times you don’t need ANY leaves.

We only need a touch of leaf surface if any at all. Err on the side of less.

Optional: Use a Rooting Hormone

Some people don’t use rooting hormone, and that’s fine and dandy, especially on mulberries. I generally use it as a good luck charm and has served me fairly well.

We have found that the dry hormone seems to work well.
Just a dab or so on the cut end.

Prepare the Containers for Where it Will be Rooted

A simple soil mixture will work just fine for these cuttings. Some people will place the mulberries directly into the ground with success. I used solo cups for this walkthrough.

In this photo you can see I did two others with no leaves at all.
Simple solo cups are just fine for cuttings.
Just stick it in the soil. Nothing fancy.

Place Cuttings Under Full Shade. No Exceptions.

It is very important that cuttings should be placed in full shade. Right now the cuttings are not in need of solar energy, but they are in need of protection. Many of my cuttings may receive about ~2-3 hours of partial shade a day and that’s it. Until these plants have bounded back and are growing aggressively there is no real need to place them where they will receive full sun.

The cuttings below I placed in a section that got way more sun than necessary and had to be moved, and have since done significantly better when placed under absolute shade by a Live oak tree where most of our nursed plants go.

Happy cuttings after a couple of weeks. They are growing back leaves that were plucked.

Last Tip: Say a Happy Prayer

It may seem a bit woo-woo or airy fairy but we typically say a little prayer of encouragement for the places that we propagate and have had good success. If it is at all possible that plants understand that they’re under the protection of humans for both their benefit and ours, then we’re willing to try and indicate that to them.

Have fun propagating mulberries.

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