Can Kale Be Grown From Cuttings?

Someone (who may or may not be writing this) used to think, as a kid, that if you cut off a piece of a plant and just stuck it in the ground, it would start growing as a new plant. Through adult eyes, that seems silly now, but given the right set of circumstances and some TLC, something similar is possible.

You can grow kale from some cuttings, but a few specific conditions need to be addressed. Not just any old piece of kale will give you another plant, and you can’t simply stick it in some dirt and hope for the best.

There are a couple of ways to grow kale from cuttings, each requiring water, sunlight, and time. Let’s look at how to do it.

How To Propagate Your Kale Plants

Before we start, understand that you have a couple of options, and you can grow kale from cuttings with or without spending money. Granted, if you spend money, you increase your chances of success, but that doesn’t mean that frugality dooms you to failure.

Method One

Propagating kale from your existing crop takes some time, but it isn’t difficult. Using the kale already thriving in your garden gives you the best chance for success if you follow these steps.

  1. Choose a stem of your kale. You can’t use just a single leaf— it needs to be a stem with at least one full leaf on it. 
  2. With clean shears, cut the stem just below the leaf node, but leave enough space to trim the stem further, which will happen in step five. Since the leaf node is where new growth comes from, you want to have that node to facilitate your cutting thriving.
  3. You’ll need to remove all but a little bit of leaf at this point so your plant’s new roots (that will soon appear) can focus their energy on growing themselves and the plant rather than keep providing nutrients for lots of leaves.
  4. Cut off all but the top leaf. If it’s a large leaf, cut off the top half. Your plant needs at least some foliage on it as the leaves are what gives it energy—but again, too many leaves mean your cutting will have to work too hard on keeping these leaves supported.
  5. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle.
  6. Dip the freshly cut stem into honey or root hormone. This is an optional step, but taking it will give your plant a leg up as it tries to get itself going. Go with local honey, or look for a rooting hormone.
  7. Plant the cutting in damp potting soil in a small container with drainage holes.
  8. Give your cutting some sun on a windowsill.
  9. Keep it moist with a spray bottle, but not wet. If you keep it too wet, you might face overwatering issues, mold, or rot.
  10. You should have new roots in two to three weeks.

When It’s Time To Plant

Your new kale plant will need about three months in that container, indoors, before it’s ready to go out into the garden. Before you plant it, you’ll need to harden it off. 

This process involves gradual exposure to outside life and cooler temperatures. Remember that kale is a cold-hardy plant, so you can harvest it late into the growing season. But your brand new plant, risen from the cutting, needs to get acclimated to cooler weather.

Take your cutting outside in its pot and put it in the shade for a couple of hours. Increase the time it spends outside and the amount of direct sunlight it receives. Spend about a week doing this, at which point it’s time to plant your new kale in its forever home.

Method Two

This second method needs water and sunlight, and that’s all. This propagation tactic allows you to take store-bought kale from the produce aisle and get your own plant out of it.

  1. Remove all the leaves from a stem. If you eat kale on the regular, you’re used to this, since not many of us eat the kale ribs—they can be pretty bitter.
  2. Fill a jar about three-quarters full of water. When you choose your jar, keep in mind that your kale stem needs to stick up an inch or so above the water, so don’t just drop it in a big jug and hope for the best.
  3. Place the jar in a sunny spot (again, a windowsill works, and one on the south side of your home provides maximum light) and wait for about a week. Replenish the water as necessary.
  4. After a week’s time, you should see some leaves sprouting on the stem part sticking out of the water. You’ll also notice that any smaller stalks attached to the main, submerged stem have turned a yellowish color and may begin peeling away.
  5. After ten or so more days, you should notice the beginning formations of roots in the water at the stem’s bottom.
  6. Gradually (over a few days) add some soil to the water. This is an optional step. Your new kale plant can theoretically go into the ground as soon as it has roots, but adding some soil to the water will give it a little more time to form longer and stronger roots.
  7. Plant your kale in its new home, ensuring the spot has adequate sunlight (at least four hours of direct sunlight is ideal for kale).

Benefits of Kale

Whether you use it for your dinner table or as a decorative element in your garden (or your dinner plate), kale is a great plant.

Its dark-green leaves provide, depending on the variety, more than one hundred percent of the daily values of vitamins A, C, and K. Different types of kale have various amounts of other nutrients, but even if you have a prickly strain of kale, it’s still edible and quite good for you.

Kale has a remarkably low-calorie content, which means that it delivers large amounts of nutrients to your body without forcing you to consume lots of calories to get them.

While this superfood often gets touted as a weight-loss miracle, there’s no big mystery. Since the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in, eating a low-calorie, nutrient-rich food like kale provides a good method for doing just that.

Kale is also an excellent source of antioxidants, a quality it shares with other leafy greens. Antioxidants hunt down free radicals in your body, which reduces the risk of heart illnesses and cancer.

Varieties of Kale

There are seven main varieties of kale, all of them edible and cold-hardy. You’ll be able to harvest fresh greens for your table into the fall and (depending on your plant hardiness zone) winter.

Curly common kale is one of the more prevalent types, followed by Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale for its scaly-looking leaves.

Ornamental kale does something of a triple duty—it’s edible, but it’s also planted in gardens for purely aesthetic reasons. It comes in colors ranging from white to pink, purple, and yellow, to name only a few). 

It’s also come into its own as a garnish, providing a pop of color and variety on the plate that’s missing from that same tired sprig of parsley most of has have been pushing around on our fancy dinner plates. 


Kale is a hardy plant that packs a lot of punch in its frilly, curly leaves. Whether you use it as a decorative plant or as part of your daily diet, it will serve you well. Propagating kale from cuttings is relatively easy provided you give the cutting the water, sunlight, and care it needs.

Doing so will allow you to grow an entirely new kale plant, a useful ability since this biennial cruciferous vegetable won’t last past two seasons. Being able to generate your own supply can help your bottom line.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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