Unlock Honeyberry Propagation Success: From Cuttings to Layering

Learn the secrets to propagating honeyberry plants using cuttings and layering. Follow our guide for post-propagation care to ensure thriving plants and bountiful harvests.

Unlock Honeyberry Propagation Success: From Cuttings to Layering


Honeyberry plants, also known as haskaps, are gaining popularity among gardeners for their delicious and nutritious berries. One of the most efficient ways to expand your honeyberry garden or share these plants with others is through propagation. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on the different methods of propagating honeyberry plants, including cuttings, layering, and grafting, to help you successfully grow new plants in your garden.

Preparing for Honeyberry Propagation

Before you begin applying honeyberry propagation tips to propagate your honeyberry plants, it's essential to consider the right timing, choose healthy parent plants, and gather the necessary tools and materials for a successful propagation process.

Timing for Different Honeyberry Propagation Methods

Each propagation method has an optimal time during the growing season when the success rate is highest. For honeyberry cuttings, the best time to take them is during the early summer when the plant's new growth is softwood. Layering is most successful when performed in late spring or early summer, while grafting should be carried out in late winter or early spring, when the plants are dormant.

Selecting Healthy Honeyberry Parent Plants

To ensure the highest chance of successful propagation, select a healthy, well-established honeyberry plant as the parent. Look for plants that are disease-free, pest-free, and have a good growth habit. Ideally, the parent plant should be at least two years old and have produced fruit in the past. This will ensure that the propagated plants inherit the desirable traits of the parent plant.

Tools and Materials Needed for Honeyberry Propagation

To propagate honeyberry plants, you'll need a few essential tools and materials:

  • Pruning shears or a sharp knife: To take cuttings or perform grafts.
  • Gloves: To protect your hands while handling sharp tools and plant material.
  • Rooting hormone: To improve the success rate of cuttings and grafts.
  • Sterilized potting mix or perlite: For rooting cuttings.
  • Containers or pots: To hold the cuttings during the rooting process.
  • Plastic bags or humidity domes: To maintain humidity around cuttings.
  • Grafting tape or rubber bands: To secure grafts in place.
  • Labels: To keep track of the different varieties and propagation methods.

Gathering these tools and materials in advance will ensure a smooth and efficient propagation process, increasing the chances of successfully growing new honeyberry plants in your garden.

Propagating Honeyberry Plants from Cuttings

One of the most popular methods of propagating honeyberry plants is through cuttings. This process involves taking a section of the parent plant and encouraging it to grow roots, eventually forming a new, independent plant.

Types of Honeyberry Cuttings

There are three main types of cuttings used for honeyberry propagation: softwood, hardwood, and semi-hardwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings are taken from the current season's growth, typically during early summer. Hardwood cuttings are taken from the previous year's growth during the dormant season, usually in late fall or winter. Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken from the current season's growth when it starts to harden, typically in late summer or early fall.

How to Take and Prepare Honeyberry Cuttings

  1. Choose a healthy, well-established honeyberry plant as the parent.
  2. Select a section of new growth (for softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings) or last year's growth (for hardwood cuttings) that is about 6-8 inches long and has at least two nodes.
  3. Using a sharp, sterilized pruning shears or knife, make a clean cut at a 45-degree angle just below a node.
  4. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting, and trim the remaining leaves by half to reduce water loss.
  5. If taking hardwood cuttings, make a straight cut at the top end to help distinguish it from the bottom end.

Using Rooting Hormone for Honeyberry Cuttings

Dip the bottom end of the cutting in a rooting hormone powder or gel, ensuring that the node is covered. Rooting hormone increases the success rate by promoting faster root development and reducing the likelihood of rot.

Planting and Caring for Honeyberry Cuttings

  1. Fill a container or pot with a sterilized potting mix or perlite.
  2. Make a hole in the medium, insert the cutting with the hormone-covered end, and gently firm the medium around it.
  3. Water the cutting, and cover the container with a plastic bag or humidity dome to maintain high humidity levels.
  4. Place the cutting in a bright location, out of direct sunlight, and maintain a temperature of 65-75°F (18-24°C).
  5. Keep the medium moist but not wet, and check for root development after 4-6 weeks.
Potted honeyberry cuttings with humidity dome
Honeyberry cuttings in pots, covered with a humidity dome to maintain moisture levels.

Success Rates and Expected Growth of Honeyberry Cuttings

The success rate of honeyberry cuttings varies depending on the type of cutting, the parent plant's health, and the growing conditions. Generally, softwood cuttings have a higher success rate than hardwood or semi-hardwood cuttings. Expect new growth to emerge once roots have developed, usually within 6-8 weeks. Once the cutting has developed a healthy root system, it can be transplanted into a larger container or the garden.

Propagating Honeyberry Plants through Layering

Layering is another effective method of propagating honeyberry plants. This process involves encouraging the parent plant to produce new roots on a portion of a stem while it's still attached to the plant, and then separating the new plant once it's established.

Types of Honeyberry Layering Methods

There are two primary layering methods used for honeyberry plants: simple layering and air layering. Simple layering is performed by bending a low-growing branch to the ground, covering a section with soil, and allowing it to root. Air layering involves removing a ring of bark from a branch and wrapping it with moist sphagnum moss and plastic to encourage root formation.

Simple layering of a honeyberry plant
A gardener using the simple layering method to propagate a honeyberry plant.

Step-by-Step Guide for Each Honeyberry Layering Method

Simple Layering:

  1. Choose a healthy, flexible branch on a well-established honeyberry plant.
  2. Select a point along the branch with at least one node, and gently bend it to the ground.
  3. Remove leaves from the node area, and lightly score the stem below the node.
  4. Bury the scored section in soil, leaving the growing tip exposed above the ground.
  5. Use a small stake or a heavy rock to secure the buried section in place.
  6. Keep the soil moist, and check for root development after 3-4 months.

Air Layering:

  1. Choose a healthy branch on a well-established honeyberry plant.
  2. Select a point along the branch with at least one node, about 12 inches from the tip.
  3. Make a ring of two parallel cuts around the stem, about 1 inch apart, and remove the bark between the cuts.
  4. Scrape off the cambium layer to prevent the stem from healing over.
  5. Apply rooting hormone to the exposed area, and wrap it with moist sphagnum moss.
  6. Cover the moss with plastic wrap, and secure it with tape or rubber bands.
  7. Check for root development after 6-8 weeks, and remove the plastic once roots are visible.

Pros and Cons of Honeyberry Layering Techniques


  • Higher success rate compared to cuttings, as the parent plant continues to provide nutrients.
  • No need for special equipment or rooting hormones (for simple layering).
  • Great for propagating plants that are difficult to root from cuttings.


  • Can take longer than cuttings to produce a new, independent plant.
  • Limited to the number of branches available on the parent plant.
  • Air layering can be more labor-intensive compared to simple layering.

Success Rates and New Honeyberry Plant Development

Layering typically yields higher success rates compared to cuttings, as the parent plant continuously supplies nutrients during the rooting phase. Once roots develop, the new plant can be separated from the parent plant and undergo the process of transplanting honeyberry plants to a new location. Simple layering may take 3-4 months for root development, while air layering generally takes 6-8 weeks. After transplanting, ensure proper care for the new honeyberry plant with adequate watering, fertilizing, and pruning, just like any other honeyberry plant.

Timeline for Honeyberry Plant Growth by Propagation Method
Timeline for Honeyberry Plant Growth by Propagation Method

Post-Propagation Care for Honeyberry Plants

Once you've successfully propagated your honeyberry plants, it's essential to provide the proper care to ensure their continued growth and development. This includes transplanting, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and monitoring for pests and diseases.

Post-Propagation Care Requirements for Honeyberry Plants
Care Category Description
Watering Water newly propagated plants regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Reduce watering frequency as the plants establish.
Fertilizing Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring and late fall, following the manufacturer's recommended rates. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers.
Pruning Prune honeyberry plants annually during dormancy, removing any dead, damaged, or crowded branches to maintain an open, well-ventilated structure.
Pest Control Monitor plants for common pests, such as aphids and spider mites. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil as needed to manage infestations.
Disease Management Keep the planting area clean and free from plant debris to prevent fungal diseases. Ensure proper spacing and pruning for good air circulation.

Transplanting Newly Propagated Honeyberry Plants

  1. Choose a suitable location in your garden with well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade.
  2. Dig a hole that's twice as wide and as deep as the root ball of your new honeyberry plant.
  3. Carefully remove the plant from its container or separate it from the parent plant (if layering).
  4. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
  5. Backfill the hole with soil, gently tamping it down to remove air pockets.
  6. Water the plant thoroughly to help settle the soil around the roots.

Watering, Fertilizing, and Pruning Requirements for Honeyberry Plants

Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist, especially during the first year of growth. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on the climate and soil type. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring, following the manufacturer's instructions. A top dressing of compost or well-rotted manure can also be beneficial for improving soil fertility.

Pruning: In the first few years, focus on shaping your honeyberry plant and removing any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. As the plant matures, prune to maintain an open, vase-like structure, which allows for better air circulation and light penetration.

Monitoring Honeyberry Plants for Pests and Diseases

Regularly inspect your honeyberry plants for signs of pests and diseases, such as aphids, powdery mildew, or leaf spot. If you notice any issues, promptly address them using appropriate organic or chemical treatments, following the label instructions. Keeping your plants healthy through proper care can also reduce the likelihood of pest and disease problems.


Propagating honeyberry plants is a rewarding process that allows you to increase your garden's bounty and enjoy the fruits of your labor. With proper care and attention, your newly propagated plants will thrive and produce delicious, healthy fruit for years to come. Whether you choose cuttings, layering, or another method, the key is patience and dedication to ensure your honeyberry plants' success.