How to Propagate a Tea Tree

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Propagate tea trees by taking several cuttings with pruning shears.
Propagate tea trees by taking several cuttings with pruning shears. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Prevalent in Australia, the tea tree has more than 200 species and can grow as a tree or shrub, according to the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association. Tea trees have evergreen leaves that change from dark to gray-green. The flowers are white, yellow, green, pink and red and form in dense clusters. The oil from tea trees is used as an antiseptic, according to the Society for Growing Australian Plants. Tea trees can be propagated through cuttings.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rooting gel
  • Plastic bag
  • Propagating mix
  • Small pot

Sanitize your pruning shears with rubbing alcohol before beginning.

Water your tea tree in the evening of the night before you take your cutting.

Cut an 8-inch piece of one of your stems just below a set of leaves, called a node. Place the shoot inside the plastic bag.

Fill a pot with propagating mix. Propagating mix is available at your local garden center or you can make it yourself. Mix two parts coarse sand, such as river sand, and one part peat moss.

Remove the soft growth from the top of the cutting. Scrape the stem gently to remove the outer layer near the bottom of the cutting. Keep one pair of leaves at the top of the cutting and remove the rest. Keep two nodes and the pair of leaves.

Plant the cutting 1 ½ inches deep into the propagating mix after dipping the bottom of the cutting into rooting gel. Pack the mix firmly around the plant.

Water the plant, and continue to water it every day. Place it in a shady spot.

Pull the cutting gently after six weeks to see if the roots are established. If the roots grab onto the soil and do not pull out, re-pot them into a larger pot with quality potting soil, and add a slow-release fertilizer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cut the top off a 2-liter bottle and place it over the top of the cutting to encourage faster growth. Plant more than one shoot, because some of them will not take root.

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