Propagating arabis

Boost your stock of arabis with help from our easy project on propagating them from cuttings.

Do it:

May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Takes just:

20 minutes

Arabis spread by forming carpets, made up of small rosettes. Taking cuttings from these rosettes is a cheap way of propagating plants that grow naturally in this way.

Insert them into good quality multi-purpose compost, with some horticultural grit or perlite added. Use a sharp knife or secateurs to prepare the cuttings as rock plants are prone to fungal infection if bruised. It's also a good time to take cuttings from alpines, such as gentians.

While rock garden plants should never be left standing in water, cuttings can’t be allowed to dry out, so check and water them carefully. Keep the cuttings at around 10°-15°C, out of direct sunlight. Cover to keep in moisture, with a cloche or cold frame lid, but ventilate the plants frequently. Remove any cuttings that are dying back promptly so as not to spread any infection.

Boost your stock of arabis with our simple, step by step guide to propagating arabis, below.

You will need

  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Perlite or horticultural grit
  • Sharp knife or secateurs


Remove healthy, non-flowering rosettes with some stem attached from the parent plant. Be sure to make a clean cut. Handle the cuttings with tweezers if they’re very small.
Trim each cutting to below a node and remove the leaves from the bottom of the stem. The finished cutting should have a short piece of stem and a rosette of leaves at the top.
Using a dibber, place the cuttings, up to their leaves, in a small terracotta pot. (Terracotta reduces the chance of waterlogging, which would be fatal for these cuttings).
While rock garden plants should never be left standing in water, cuttings can’t be allowed to dry out, so check and water them carefully.
Water thoroughly, allowing the water to drain away from the pot afterwards. Once the cuttings have produced some new roots and leaves, pot them on singly.


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