Can You Root Orange Cuttings in Water?

Growing orange plants from cuttings from your tree aren’t as difficult as you would think. Many people start new trees by utilizing cutting and stimulating root growth. But what about growing orange cuttings in water? 

You can root orange cuttings in water. However, not all cuttings will sprout, and most grow better in a mixture of soil and sand. Additionally, applying some hormone rooting powder to the end of the cutting helps ensure root growth. Selecting healthy orange tree clippings is also essential. 

In the rest of this article, I will discuss the process of rooting orange cuttings in water and soil. I will also answer common questions about growing your orange tree from a cutting. So, if you want to learn more about propagating orange plants, read on. 

How To Root Orange Tree Cuttings in Water 

The overall process of rooting an orange tree cutting isn’t overly complex. The best time of year to grow an orange tree cutting is during the springtime. However, you will want to wait until the last frost has passed to ensure your plant stays healthy. Additionally, which trees you select your cutting from is also important. 

Also, it’s important to note that propagating orange tree cuttings in water is more complex and time-consuming than doing it in soil. Root rot is also a common problem for propagating citrus plants in water. However, some gardeners prefer this method as it’s easy to monitor the growth of the roots in water. 

So, how do you get started propagating and orange cutting in water? 

Prepare a Container for Rooting 

First, you need to prepare a container for your cuttings to go into. You can use a bucket, a glass jar, or any other vessel that can hold water. A clear container is ideal if you want to check your plant’s root growth without removing the cuttings. 

Fill the container with filtered water and set aside for the cuttings to be placed in. 

Select Quality Orange Tree Cuttings 

Next, you will need to collect quality cuttings from your orange trees. Now, what exactly qualifies an orange tree cutting as quality? A quality orange tree cutting comes from a tree that produces good fruit, is healthy, and grows easily. The cutting you take is a part of the plant it came from, so you want to select a tree with traits you wish to replicate

Other tips for selecting quality orange cuttings:

  • Choose branches that don’t already have too many blooms on them. 
  • Select branches that are newer growths. 
  • Take cuttings once the orange tree’s production has slowed. 
  • Wait to take cuttings until late spring or early summer. 
  • Check that the plant has 2-3 leaf nodes along the stem before cutting. 
  • Make a clean cut just below a node to remove the cutting. 

Rooting occurs at nodes on your plant cutting. Since these nodes have increased chances of growth, you will want to handle them gently and ensure no damage is incurred during cutting. 

Cut Your Orange Tree Cuttings From the Tree 

Once you have decided which tree and stems you want to take, it’s time to get cutting. Using sharp instruments to cut the plant is essential. Clean cuts minimize damage to the cuttings and help future growth. 

What you will need:

  • Sharp pruning shears. 
  • Orange branches. 

How to cut a branch for propagation from an orange tree:

  1. Select the branches you wish to clip. 
  2. Cut a branch with 3–4 leaf nodes just below the node.
  3. Remove all leaves from the node to increase the likelihood of roots developing. 

Taking a cutting from a plant isn’t incredibly difficult. The most crucial part is choosing the right tree and branches. You don’t want to grow a cutting from a tree that regularly struggles to grow or is prone to diseases. 

Prep the Cuttings for Growth 

Next, you will need to prep the orange tree cuttings for being placed in water. Now you can place the cuttings into the water and wait. You will need to check on your plant regularly and change the water every 2–3 days. 

Stagnant water can cause illness in your plant and decrease the likelihood of sprouting roots. Along with regular water changes, the cutting needs to be placed somewhere with plenty of sunlight. The new orange plants need to be kept warm and should be moved indoors should an unsuspecting cold front move in. 

Care and Monitor the Cutting’s Root Growth 

It’s essential to develop a schedule of water changes and check on the plants to provide the best care for your new orange tree cuttings. The cuttings will take about 8 weeks to establish roots strong enough to withstand planting. 

However, it’s important to note that the branches are less likely to sprout with growing orange cuttings in water instead of a soil sand mixture. Nevertheless, growth can occur; it’s more challenging to produce roots. 

Plant the Developed Cuttings 

Once a root system has developed, move the cutting to a pot or garden space in your yard. The soil you’re switching your plant to should be good quality and contain some sand to ensure proper drainage. 

You can plant the cuttings in a large pot until they become more established or in your yard where you want the plant to grow. Utilizing a pot is an excellent way to keep the plant safe and ensure it can withstand the shock of being transplanted outdoors. 

It’s also important to note that your cuttings will not immediately develop fruit once planted. Orange trees typically take about 1-2 years to fruit and sometimes longer if the parent plant is a slow producer. Addinally, fruit trees need to be grafted in order to produce healthy fruit bearing trees.

Rooting Orange Cuttings in Soil

If you want to ensure that your orange cuttings develop roots, placing them in soil instead of water is beneficial. Soil is a better-tested method for rooting plant cuttings and helps the plants acclimate to living in the soil better. 

What you will need:

  • Orange tree cuttings.
  • A container for the cuttings.
  • Quality soil.
  • Sand. 
  • Root growth hormone. 

Steps for rooting orange cuttings in soil:

  1. Ensure the cutting is from a healthy tree. Consider the tree’s history and its overall health. Select branches that are relatively new and that have 3–4 nodes on them. 
  2. Cut the branch below a node. A node is where roots are most likely to grow from. You will also need to remove any leaves from the node to make room for the new roots. You will want to cut the branch to have a pointed end. 
  3. Dip the cutting in a root growth hormone. You can easily buy the hormone or even make your own at home. Root hormones increase the likelihood of your cutting and developing healthy roots.  
  4. Select a pot or container with good drainage. Water should not sit on the new branch, or it could lead to the cutting rotting. 
  5. Place the cuttings in a pot of ½ potting soil and ½ sand. The branch should be inserted into the soil but not too deep. 
  6. Place the cuttings somewhere that is warm and gets plenty of sunlight. As with any plant, your orange tree cuttings will need regular exposure to the sun to create food and promote root growth. 
  7. Water the orange tree cuttings regularly. You don’t want to over-water, but the soil should remain moist. 

As you can see, the process for rooting an orange plant in soil is very similar to that of propagating in water.

If you’re more of a visual learner, Cuttings Tutorials has a fantastic video that walks you through the process of preparing an orange cutting for propagation. They do a great job of showcasing how the cuts should look and placing the cutting in the soil. 

Making Your Own Rooting Hormone

Finally, if you aren’t one for purchasing things when you can make some yourself, trying your hand at rooting hormones is a good idea. Surprisingly, creating your rooting hormone isn’t that difficult, and it’s an excellent benefit for your cuttings. 

What you will need:

  • Quality apple cider vinegar. 
  • Jar, cup, or another container. 
  • Water. 

How to make your rooting hormone for orange cuttings:

  1. Find a mixing bowl or other vessel. 
  2. Take 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. 
  3. Combine the vinegar with 5-6 cups of water. 

The process is easy and can be accomplished with ingredients you have lying around your home. After you create the mixture, dip the end of the cutting into the mixture before placing them in the soil. 


You can root orange cuttings in water. However, rooting cuttings in water is far less effective than propagating them in a mixture of sand and soil. Many orange tree cuttings fail to grow roots in water. Root rot is a very common problem with water propagation. 

That being said, propagating in only water is certainly possible and worth trying if you have several branches to practice. The water propagation method is also more time-consuming as the water needs to be changed regularly to prevent rot.

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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