How to Propagate Korean Bush Cherry

This post is about How to Propagate Korean Bush Cherry.  We give you general plant information followed by detailed propagation instructions for softwood cuttings.

Basic Information

Korean Bush Cherry is a fine-textured bush cherry with fuzzy leaves that grows to 5-8 feet in height and width, likes full sun to part shade and is hardy in zones 4-8. It is known as Korean Bush Cherry, Japanese bush cherry, or Oriental bush cherry with a scientific name of Prunus japonica.  It is native from central China south through Korea.

How to Propagate Korean Bush Cherry

How to Propagate Korean Bush Cherry

The Korean Bush cherry is covered in fragrant white flowers in the spring. These bush cherries produce average-sized, bright red cherries in mid-summer. The cherries are similar to Nanking cherries, but sweeter and less productive. The plants are self-fertile although two plants increase fruiting.


The cherries are great for fresh eating and can be frozen for delicious winter snacks. They also make tasty juice, jelly, and are high in anthocyanins and other antioxidants.  They can be used for making pies, but it would be labor intensive removing all of the pits from the small fruit.

The Basics of Propagation

Korean bush cherry can be propagated via seed, softwood cutting, or layering.  Each fruit has one seed that requires 2 – 3-months cold stratification. The plant usually grows from seed but can also be propagated through cutting for layering.  Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged.

How to Propagate Korean Bush Cherry

How to Propagate Korean Bush Cherry

Softwood Cuttings

For this post we are going to take softwood cuttings.  Softwood cuttings are this year’s growth that started in the spring.  This wood is usually just slightly a different color and last year’s wood just looks a little more worn and older.

Make the Cut

Cut the softwood branches off of the plant. Then cut the branches down so they have four internodes.  Internodes are any place a branch or leaf comes out.  I usually go with four for Korean bush cherry.  Leave two leafs at the top and remove the bottom leafs.

Rooting Hormone

Dip the bottoms of the cuttings in rooting hormone.  I use dip and grow liquid hormone because I only need the one product and I can mix it as strong as I like.  Softwood cuttings does not require very concentrated rooting hormone, whereas hardwood cuttings require more concentrated solution.

Cuttings in the Planting Medium

Now it is time to place the cuttings into the planting medium.  Push them into your planting medium about two inches down.  Your planting medium should be something that drains freely and easily.  You do not want to saturate the soil where disease and pathogens will proliferate.

How to Propagate Korean Bush Cherry

Keep the Leaves Wet

These little cuttings will die if the leaves dry out.  You don’t want to soak the ground, but you do want to keep the leaves wet.  The best way to do this is with a mist irrigation system that automatically comes on.  I use the Galcon 8056 and have it programmed for 10 seconds on and 5 minutes off.  This runs all day, but shuts totally off from 9 PM until 6 AM.

Leave Them Be

The cuttings need to stay in the rooting medium until they go dormant.  This usually happens by December or January timeframe.  Once they are dormant, they can be moved to pots or to their location in the yard.

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