This guide is meant to teach you how to propagate Shrubby Cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa) and hopefully make it easier for you to sell them at your own nursery.
Hardiness Zone: 2-8
Soil Type: Well-drained loam, sand, clay
Water: Medium to High, drought-resistant once established
Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Shrubby Cinquefoil, also called Potentilla, is a wonderful zone 2 perennial shrub that blooms for a surprisingly long period of time. Your shrubby cinquefoil flowers can last from May to October.
Those flowers provide a long-lasting food source for many beneficiary insects such as bees and butterflies.
Shrubby cinquefoil leaves are elliptical-shaped with curled-inward, ciliate margins. They grow on the stems in a palmate-to-pinnate structure, bearing 3-7 leaflets each.
It’s a great plant to add color to your landscaping, the blooms are bright and abundant.
Fun fact: Shrubby cinquefoil is found growing naturally all around the northern hemisphere, in mountain ranges and meadows.
It is a robust plant that makes a great gift for beginner gardeners.
Best Way to Propagate Shrubby Cinquefoil
A great way to propagate your shrubby cinquefoil is to take cuttings from them. A good size for potentilla cuttings is about 5-6 inches each.
- Softwood Cuttings: Take them 6 weeks after the first leaves appear in Spring, any cuttings before will be too soft and tender. The best time is usually early June.
- Hardwood Cuttings: As the summer progresses, new growths harden to get ready for the winter months, some of these last growths are still great for propagation. Take them from September to December.
The difference between the two? Softwood cuttings root much faster but can fail more easily since they are much more fragile. Hardwood cuttings root slower but are much more hardy.
For propagation of shrubby cinquefoil from hardwood cuttings, the best is to place them in a propagation frame for overwintering.
Pro tip: You can dip the cuttings in rooting compound, it might help but not necessary.
Before planting them in your propagation boxes, remove the leaves from the bottom 1/2 to 2/3 of the cutting to help promote root growth.
You can also grow shrubby cinquefoil from seed, but it will be much slower.
Like nearly all zone 2 perennial shrubs, potentilla seeds need to go through stratification. Because of this, the best time to plant them is during fall outside and to let them stratify naturally.
Prepare some closed off propagation beds that can get through winter. Fill them with a moist sterile mix like sand, perlite, or vermiculite.
Tag the area where you sow so you don’t get mixed, sow your seeds on the surface and cover with thin layer of mix.
Leave them like this through winter, once spring comes around water them and they will sprout.
Online, you can buy shrubby cinquefoil seeds here.
How to Ready Shrubby Cinquefoil for Sale
Shrubby cinquefoil softwood cuttings can root as fast as 3-4 weeks. After that, pot them up in well-drained moderately fertile soil mix and keep them in a sunny area of your nursery.
Since potentilla is a shrub that grows fast, it can quickly get out of control. At the end of the growing season, it’s always a good idea to prune them hard and harvest hardwood cuttings from the plants you haven’t sold.
During the season, if you want to have nice potentilla plants that will sell well, prune them if they get out of control. If you don’t they can lose their bush shape and get quite ugly.
Are you still figuring out how to start your plant nursery? Check out our guide here.