How to Grow Kale from Cuttings: Expert Guide

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Growing kale from cuttings is a simple and rewarding process for gardeners of all experience levels. This popular leafy green vegetable is packed with essential nutrients, making it an excellent addition to any home garden. By propagating kale from cuttings, you can enjoy a continuous harvest of fresh, healthy greens without needing to start from seeds each time.

To propagate kale from cuttings, you will need to begin by selecting a healthy, mature plant. Once you’ve identified your ideal kale plant, you’ll remove cuttings from it and properly tend to them, ensuring they develop strong roots. With the right care and attention, these kale cuttings will eventually grow into vibrant, robust plants that yield a bountiful harvest.

In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of growing kale from cuttings, ensuring you have all the information and tips needed to successfully propagate this nutritious leafy green in your own garden. By following the instructions provided, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a steady supply of delicious, homegrown kale.

What is Kale

Kale is a hardy, leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. It comes in various colors and textures, thanks to its curly, broad, or flat leaves. Kale is known for its high nutritional value, containing an abundance of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. This leafy green has become a popular choice for health-conscious individuals, as well as those looking to diversify their diets.

One of the fascinating aspects of kale is how easily it can be cultivated using cuttings. In order to successfully grow kale from cuttings, it’s essential to understand the various types of kale.

Types of Kale

There are several types of kale, each with its unique flavor and appearance. Some of the most common varieties include:

  • Curly kale: This type of kale has dark green, tightly ruffled leaves. It’s the most common variety and is often used in salads, stir-fries, and soups.
  • Lacinato kale: Also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale, lacinato kale has long, flat, and textured leaves with a dark blue-green color. It’s known for its slightly sweeter taste compared to other varieties and is commonly used in Italian cuisine.
  • Redbor kale: This variety has vibrant, reddish-purple leaves that add a pop of color to any dish. It’s similar in taste to curly kale and can be used interchangeably in recipes.
  • Russian kale: With its red or purple veins and frilly-edged leaves, Russian kale is a striking variety. Despite its unique appearance, its flavor is milder compared to other types of kale and works well in salads or sautéed dishes.
  • Premier kale: This type of kale has smooth, dark green leaves with a slightly lighter stem. Its tender leaves make it an ideal addition to salads, and it’s known for having a slightly sweeter taste.

Knowing the different types of kale adds variety and diversity to one’s diet, offering a range of flavors and textures that can be used in various dishes. From salads to stir-fries, kale can be incorporated into numerous cuisines and is an excellent addition to any menu.

The Process of Propagation from Cuttings

Growing kale from cuttings is a simple and efficient way to propagate this nutritious leafy green. In this section, we will discuss the requirements for cutting and the process of propagation.

Requirements for Cutting

To successfully propagate kale from cuttings, it’s essential to choose the right stem. Look for a healthy, mature kale plant with strong stems and lush leaves. Once you’ve identified the ideal plant, follow these guidelines:

  1. Select a stem: Choose a stem that is at least 3-4 inches long and has a diameter of approximately 1/4 inch. It should have several leaves but no flowers or buds.
  2. Make the cut: Use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears or a knife to make a diagonal cut just below a leaf node. This will encourage new roots to grow more readily from the cut end.
  3. Prepare the cutting: Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving only the top 2-3 leaves. This will direct the plant’s energy into root development.

With the cutting prepared, it’s time to move on to the propagation process.

The Propagation Process

Follow these simple steps to propagate your kale cutting:

  1. Prep the pot: Fill a small pot (about 4 inches in diameter) with a well-draining, sterile potting mix. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to prevent root rot.
  2. Plant the cutting: Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone, then insert it about 1-2 inches deep into the soil. Ensure that the remaining leaves do not touch the soil.
  3. Provide moisture: Water the soil gently to settle it around the cutting, and cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or wrap to maintain humidity. Don’t let the plastic touch the cutting.
  4. Ideal conditions: Place the pot in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. Ensure that the temperature remains between 65-75°F, and monitor the soil moisture to keep it consistently damp, but not waterlogged.
  5. Monitor growth: In about 2-4 weeks, you should notice new growth indicating that the cutting has developed roots. Gently tug on the stem to feel for resistance, which signifies the development of a robust root system.
  6. Transplant: Once the kale cutting has established a strong root system, remove the plastic cover, and allow it to acclimate to lower humidity levels for a few days. Then, transplant your new kale plant to a larger container or directly into your garden.

By following these guidelines, you can successfully propagate kale from cuttings and enjoy a bountiful harvest of this healthy, versatile green.

Steps to Grow Kale from Cuttings

Initial Phase

To start growing kale from cuttings, first identify a healthy kale plant that has strong-looking stems and leaves. Ensure that the plant has not been treated with any growth inhibitors or chemicals that might impact the success of the propagation.

Next, carefully select a stem that is around 4 to 6 inches in length and has at least two leaves attached. Using clean and sharp gardening scissors, cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, just below a leaf. Remove the lower leaves, keeping only the top two leaves on the cutting. This creates the ideal cutting for propagation.

Planting the Cuttings

After preparing the cutting, proceed with planting it. Prepare a pot or container filled with a well-draining soil mix for the kale cutting. Make a 2-inch deep hole in the soil using a pencil or your finger, ensuring that the hole is slightly wider than the stem of the cutting.

Place the kale cutting into the hole, ensuring the cut end is in contact with the soil. Gently press the soil around the cutting to provide support, but not too compactly. Water the cutting thoroughly so that the soil is damp, but not overly saturated.

Caring for the New Growth

To care for the kale cutting, maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil. Check regularly, and water as necessary to ensure the soil never dries out completely. Place the potted cutting in a bright location, but avoid direct sunlight, as it may be too harsh for the cutting at this stage.

Once the kale cutting starts showing new growth, usually within two to three weeks, you can gradually introduce it to direct sunlight. Wait until the plant has developed a strong root system, typically after four to six weeks, before transplanting it into a larger container or into your garden.

To promote healthy growth, introduce a balanced fertilizer once the kale plant is established with a strong root system. Ensure the plant receives adequate sunlight (around six hours per day) and continue to monitor soil moisture.

By following these steps, you should be able to successfully propagate kale from cuttings and enjoy a new kale plant in your garden. Remember to be patient and attentive to the needs of the cutting as it develops into a strong kale plant.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake when growing kale from cuttings is selecting inappropriate stem cuttings. To ensure successful growth, pick a healthy stem that is at least 4 inches long and has 2 to 3 healthy leaves.

Another mistake is to neglect the importance of a proper growing medium. Use a mixture of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite to support drainage and airflow, promoting healthy root development.

Keep in mind the ideal light and temperature conditions. Kale cuttings should receive adequate indirect sunlight and be grown in temperatures between 60-65°F. Not providing the right conditions can lead to slow or stunted growth.

Overwatering or underwatering your kale cuttings is another common misstep. Maintain the right level of moisture in the soil by providing a consistent watering schedule. Soil should be moist but not saturated.

Do not forget about the importance of appropriate nutrients for kale. Utilize a half-strength liquid fertilizer to provide essential nutrients for your cuttings. Adjust the feeding schedule as the plant matures.

Watch out for any signs of pest infestations or diseases, such as yellowing leaves or spots. Treat the affected cuttings promptly by removing problematic leaves and using appropriate organic pesticides or fungicides.

In summary, to successfully grow kale from cuttings, avoid common mistakes like neglecting proper stem selection, providing inadequate growing medium, failing to maintain ideal growing conditions, and improper watering. Additionally, nourish your plants with appropriate nutrients and address possible pest or disease issues promptly.

Benefits of Growing Kale from Cuttings

Growing kale from cuttings offers numerous advantages for gardeners. One significant benefit is the ability to produce a new plant from a single piece of a mature kale plant, reducing the need to purchase seeds or seedlings. This technique helps save money and resources, as well as opens up the possibility of propagating unique and heirloom varieties that might not be available in seed form.

Kale, being a highly nutritious vegetable, is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as essential minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron. By growing it from cuttings, gardeners can enjoy a continuous supply of this nutrient-dense leafy green throughout the season. This allows them to incorporate fresh and organic produce into their daily meals, promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Another advantage of growing kale from cuttings is the time factor. As the plant is propagated from mature stock, the growth period is significantly shortened compared to germinating seeds. Cuttings often root quickly and start growing within a few weeks, providing gardeners with an earlier harvest. This accelerated growth rate also makes it an ideal choice for regions with shorter growing seasons or for those who are impatient to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

In addition to these benefits, taking cuttings for propagating kale is an environmentally friendly practice. It helps in reducing waste as gardeners can use the parts of the plant that they may have otherwise discarded. Moreover, this method encourages sustainable gardening practices and contributes to biodiversity by preserving unique varieties.

To sum up, growing kale from cuttings is an efficient, eco-friendly, and cost-effective method of cultivating this highly nutritious vegetable. Not only does it provide a continuous supply of fresh produce and save resources, but it also contributes to healthier food choices and sustainable gardening practices.


Kale is a highly nutritious leafy green, and learning to grow it from cuttings can be a rewarding endeavor. Through proper care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh and healthy kale leaves.

To successfully grow kale from cuttings, it is essential to prepare the right environment. This includes selecting a suitable location with good sun exposure, fertile soil, and adequate drainage. Providing proper nourishment, through watering and fertilizing, will further enhance the chances of successful growth.

Regular monitoring is also important to ensure the health of your kale plants. Watch out for pests and diseases that can affect your crop, and take appropriate preventive or corrective measures. Pruning your plants and weeding the surrounding area will also help promote a thriving kale garden.

By following these steps and guidelines, you can easily grow your own kale from cuttings and enjoy the numerous benefits this versatile leafy green offers. Not only can you take pride in cultivating your own food, but it also contributes to sustainable living and encourages a closer connection to nature.

Remember, growing kale from cuttings might have a learning curve, but with patience and practice, you’ll be rewarded with a flourishing garden that provides greens for your table all season long.