If you’ve followed us for a minute - you’ll know I love a good houseplant. I think we have about 25 currently, and I’m not proud to admit it but I purchase a new one every couple of weeks. I have many different reasons for my love of plants, but the main one being they help with the air quality of our home.
The problem is indoor plants are at times quite expensive, and it seems they are only increasing in cost. So if you’re like me, and you want to keep growing your indoor plant collection without breaking the bank - plant propagating may be your answer!
What is plant propagation?
Plant propagation is simply the process of creating new plants by cutting a part of the “parent plant” to regenerate into new root growth.
Does this work for all houseplants?
While stem cuttings can work for the majority of houseplants it’s always best to look them up first, and see if there are specific guidelines as well.
Here’s a general list of houseplants that can be propagated:
What are the directions?
Step 1 - Prepare From Propagation
One of my favorite steps because it involves jar shopping! I personally love finding vintage apothecary jars for propagation because it doubles as a beautiful decor piece. You can use any jar but make sure it’s clean with no dust and can fit the stem easily. Fill the jar enough to cover the stem with distilled water.
Step 2 - Stem Cutting
Each stem cutting is a little different depending on the plant, but the idea is to make a fairly long cut (not too close to the leaves) so there is enough room for the roots to grow.
With a plant like a Fiddle Leaf Fig - you want to try to have a stem with at least two leaves. You can also cut a branch of Pothos with many leaves and start a new plant that way. There aren’t that many rules so don’t be afraid to try.
One rule however is to not waste time between the cut, and the final water placement. Plants can dry out quickly, and it’s important to put them in the jars as fast as you can.
Step 3 - Reinforcement
For a long time we didn’t use plant food, or add additional nutrients to our houseplants. We saw growth with all of our plants, but it was a slow process. With larger plants like the Fiddle Leaf Fig, and Elephant Ears it’s important to invest in plant food because they need that little bit extra that they aren’t getting from the tropical outdoor soil they might be used to.
For the propagation I would invest in a rooting hormone such as FastRoot, SUPERthrive, and Take Root (can be found at your local hardware store). Each one has a specific set of directions but I typically dip the stem in water and roll it around in the powder solution before placing it in the jar. Again this should be done quickly so the plant doesn’t dry out.
Step 4 - Time to Grow
Place the jars in a fairly bright location, and check on them throughout the coming weeks. I recommend a window sill or shelf that gets sun but won’t burn the plants. You can also change the water once a week, but I haven’t found it matters too much.
Step 5 - Just Wait
You should see growth by at least week 3, but depending on the plant it could be a little longer. You will know it’s time to plant them in soil when you see the root growth has strongly developed.
Why go through the trouble?
At first I found propagation a little sad, and semi-terrifying. It seemed strange to cut up my beautiful plants, and I wasn’t sure if I was doing the process right. I will say it’s quite forgiving, and it’s rewarding to have so many new plants as a result. We have third generation aloe in our home, and it’s a special experience to see the process of growth.
Have you used this process with any of your plants? Will you after reading this?