Mature Tree Collards

Mature Tree Collards
Three Year's Old! 11' Tall!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Propagation of Cuttings

This post has been a long time in coming.  Sorry for the delay.

As stated in the other post, make sure you are taking cuttings from green branches and not woody branches.  Woody branches will root, but will be stunted.  Please read that post.

Always make sure to put at least an 10' tree pole next to the plant once you've planted it in the ground.  These plants get very top heavy.  I've had 12' plants that were tied to tree poles fall over in strong winds when the ground gets really wet during the Winter.  Ideally, the tree pole will have three feet in the ground.  This only matters if you'd like to grow the collards upwards of 10'.  If you continue to prune the main trunk AND the side branches, you can keep it smaller.

(Please aid the plants survival and propagation by sharing cuttings with other gardeners.  You can send them here for directions to rooting or better yet, root them first.)

Side note:  Unless you are taking cuttings to make new plants, you'll always be harvesting just the leaves.

I have grown plants in two formats.

1)  I let the plant grow to about four feet plus and then top two feet off and root that cutting.  Once the apical meristem is removed (the top of the plant) the plant will immediately direct its energy to the lateral meristems (lateral branches).  These branches can will then provide you with more opportunities to make cuttings.  I will cut all the lateral branches when they get about 4'.  The plant will now start to get up to 4' in diameter.  You can repeat this process at least one more time. Growing in this manner, the leaves will be smaller than in growing them in Format 2, however, you will have a lot more production.

2)  I let the plant continue to grow without topping it.  Somewhere around 6' tall, the plant will start putting out lateral branches.  You can eventually make new cuttings from these branches.  I prefer this method because I love seeing a 10' plus high plant with GIANT leaves.  However, (as you can see by the two photos attached), this three year old plant with one stock has just had all of it's lateral branches pruned.  You can see the woodiness to the branches.  These branches will produce quite small leaves and you won't be able to make new cuttings because of the woodiness.

Rooting the Cuttings

Make a cutting with at least 5-6 leaf nodes.  Strip all leaves off the cutting except the top smallest leaves.  I dip the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone, although this isn't necessary.  My neighbor has just stuck them in the ground (in Spring and Summer) and some root and some don't
The medium I use is 50% perlite and 50% vermiculite.  I use a 4" pot.  I then cover the pot with a plastic bag to make a mini greenhouse and keep it in total shade (Summer) or indirect light for the next two months.

They take a really, really long time to root!
This is why you can't find them at nurseries; there's no profit margin given the amount of time and energy it takes to make new plants.

(It's possible that your cuttings will flower in the first three months if the weather is warm - like late Spring or into Summer.  Unfortunately, you'll have to start over.  I think it has something to do with them being in the pot - possibly a bit root-bound -)

Be very careful when removing the plant from the 4" pot as the roots are very delicate and they are growing at the very end of the stem cutting.  These roots can fall off easily if you're not careful.  I like to let the soil dry out completely before popping it out of the ground.  I have often transplanted them up to one gallon pots before putting them in the ground.

Give them a good feeding of Calcium every month or two.


  1. Where are you located? I would love to have a cutting!

  2. Hi,

    I was wondering if you had any tree kale/collards cuttings for sale? Do you also ship by any chance?


    1. In case anyone coming to this site is still looking for cuttings- we have started offering tree collards cuttings and ship throughout the US.

  3. I'm very sorry to inform you that I'm all out. I'll post here when more are available. Yes, I do ship.

    1. Thank you Yes please let me know.

  4. It would be great if you can show us how to propogate on a video. Which cuttings to take and how much of it. I have three tree collards and am not sure if I'm propogating some of the cuttings correctly. I'm also afraid to just lop off the top, what if I cut off too much and it doesn't grow? Which parts am I suppose to keep on the tree and which parts can I go ahead and eat from? LOL! I'm still a novice when it comes to growing.

  5. Hi,

    Very interesting and of course I would love to get one of these when you have some. Thank you for the time spent putting this out! I will check back and hope that I don't miss your post.

  6. Thank you very much for posting all of the highly useful information about tree collards.

    Please contact me when you have tree collard cuttings available for sale. Thank you!

    sullivan_andy at rocketmail period com


    I am moving out of the country and no longer have cuttings available. Hopefully, other passionate gardeners will step in here and announce that they have cuttings to sell/share.

    Thanks again,

  8. are you in the US?

    app' what costs are involved in procuring cuttings?

    thank you

  9. Hi,
    How are you?
    Thank you for all the information.
    I was wondering. Can we grow tree collards in a pot indoors all year round?

  10. Do you maybe have any rooted cuttings available? I have tried straight cuttings and failed miserably at trying to root them also I don't see a shopping cart or anything of the like, how do we buy them? Thanx.

  11. Do you maybe have any rooted cuttings available? I have tried straight cuttings and failed miserably at trying to root them also I don't see a shopping cart or anything of the like, how do we buy them? Thanx.

  12. We sell cuttings at our website and have tutorials/videos about propagating, pruning and harvesting tree collards. Thanks for your wonderful website!

  13. Michael do you sale tree collards. If so I am at a loss in finding your order form. Thanks Ed,South Carolina

  14. Can you tell me if this is the right time to cut a clipping to start a second planting? Took me 12 tries to get a clipping to grow, but finally did get one going, and it's doing fairly well - it's about 20" in this picture -

    I want to get a second one going from a clipping of it.
    And I think there's a good clipping on it near the bottom in this picture, on the left side -

    If I snip off that lower branch, and pull off those two lower leaves on it, and plant it up to about the bottom of the next leaf up, is that the right way to go about clippings and starting a new one from an existing one?
    If I do that, should I also clip off the leaves on that new clipping when trying to get it going in a pot to start with so that it focuses on the roots instead of the leaves?

  15. I purchased cuttings and have them in the perlite and vermiculite. I don't know what type of lighting to root them, though. Can I put outside in the shade? Or should I do a sunny window? A room with very little light? Thank you!