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Posted on August 11 2022
Propagation is easily one of the most exciting parts of keeping houseplants. Creating new life can be so rewarding but it’s not always straightforward. There are many ways you can propagate your plants and in this post I’m going to share with you my best tips and tricks for success.
The most common and widely known way to propagate plants is to take stem cuttings and pop them in a clear glass of water so that you can watch the roots grow and monitor the health of the cutting easily; However, not all species can be propagated in this way.
Stem cuttings can be taken from plants which have nodes, these are small swellings or bumps separated by ‘internodes’, where leaves typically emerge from. It’s also common to see certain species have aerial roots growing from these nodes. A few examples of species that are like this include; Epipremnum, Scindapsus, Tradescantia, Rhipsalis, Monstera, Philodendron, Hoya, Maranta and many more.
Once you’ve identified which of your plants would be suitable for this type of propping, you’re ready to get started! It’s understandable to be nervous about chopping the top of a beloved plant off, but so long as you follow these steps you have the best chance of success.
Equipment you will need;
- Sharp scissors, knife or secateurs (depending on the thickness of the stem).
- A jar or vase of your choice.
- Clean water to fill the jar or vase.
- Rooting hormone (optional), you can get it here.
- Firstly sterilize your equipment. You want it to be as clean as possible to prevent the risk of a bacterial infection which can cause rot. Isopropyl alcohol is a great cleaning solution for your tools and jars but don't worry if you don’t have any, hot water and soap will also do the trick.
- Select the part of the plant you want to take a cutting from. For a cutting to be most successful you don’t want too many leaves on it, so aim for a cutting that has around 3-4 leaves. It’s also important to make sure the cutting you take has some mature leaves on it. Taking a cutting directly from a new growth tip will likely result in failure as the cutting won’t have enough energy to put into growing new roots to support itself. You can either take a ‘top cutting’ (a cutting that already has new growth and established leaves from the top or end of the stem) or a ‘mid cutting’ (a cutting of the mid section of the stem, usually after a top cutting has already been taken). If you’re taking a mid cutting you can have less leaves on it as this section is more strongly established.
- Now that you’ve picked where to cut you can go ahead and take the cutting. Make sure to cut the plant directly in the middle of the internodal spacing, which is the space between each node. It’s best to do so at a 45 degree angle.
- Now that you have taken your cutting you can dip it in rooting hormone, which is optional but massively increases the chance of root production. It also seals the cut you have just made meaning you can put it in water straight away. If you don’t want to do this stepI would recommend leaving the cutting to dry out of direct sunlight for 30 minutes or until you notice the cut has started to dry and callous over, forming its own protection in the process. The time it takes for this to happen depends on the type of plant and the thickness of the stem. For example cacti will sometimes need to be left out for up to a week. I have personally skipped this step and put a fresh unsealed cutting in water which can be completely fine but it does come with more risk of losing the plant to rot.
This method also works with other substrates like moss, soil, perlite, and more; However, there are a few differences to the aftercare method with different substrates. Water is an easy method for beginners and also makes it more visually interesting because, if you use a clear jar for your cuttings, you can watch the roots form over time.
So now you have the knowledge to take and apply to your own plants at home, make more plants, and share them with your loved ones and other house plant enthusiasts! Be sure to share with us your #Propagationstation and let us know how you are getting on, we would love to hear about it.
There are many other ways to propagate your plants such as; leaf cuttings, air layering, division, separation, chonks and wet-sticks. All of which have specific requirements. If you would like to know more about these then please feel free to message me directly @thatgreenfriend, or leave a comment below to let us know what you’d like a post on next!