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  • Writer's pictureTracey Parriman

Propagation Techniques That Will Grow On You

Propagation is like being let in on a secret and part of the fun of owning houseplants. Propagation allows a plant to be replicated with the same genetic properties as the original plant. Though it grows into its own, it is identical to the plant you took it from. 

Propagation can be beneficial in a lot of ways. Perhaps your plant suffers damage - it’s knocked off a shelf, overtaken by pests, or suffering root-rot from overwatering. Propagating cuttings from your plant can allow you to salvage your plant friend and start over. Especially for plants with a short lifespan, such as string of pearls, propagating can make your plant last longer by creating fresh roots and leaves.

Creating new plants from cuttings can also be a great way to expand your plant collection for free. If you need more green in your home but buying a new plant isn’t in your budget, simply take a cutting and create a new one. These new plants can also make great gifts for friends and family. You could even consider hosting a plant swap for new varieties with friends.

Easy Ways to Propagate

Three easy ways to propagate include: rooting plant pups, rooting cuttings in water, and rooting cuttings in soil. Before you decide which route to take, it’s important to research your plant and understand which technique they prefer. 

Rooting Plant Pups

Aloe and spider plants are well-known for creating “pups”. These are basically little plant babies that the mother plant produces. You can carefully remove the pup from the mother plant, place in water until roots emerge, or place directly in soil. Succulents, like aloe, prefer a few days to callus over before trying to root. Just set them aside for a few days until the tip you cut is dry, then plant in moist soil. 

Rooting in Water

Rooting in water is another easy way to propagate. Pothos is a great plant for this. Simply cut the stem below a node - we recommend leaving at least 2 nodes below the surface of the water. The nodes are the little bumps along the stem where new growth takes place and from where new roots will sprout. Remove any lower leaves, as any extra plant matter left in water will rot. Leave 1-2 leaves above the water and place your container in a spot that receives bright, indirect light. After a few weeks and when roots are 1-2 inches long, move the cutting into soil. 

Rooting in Soil

Rooting in soil is similar to propagating in water, only you’re planting the cutting directly into the soil. You can purchase rooting hormones to help with this technique, but most of the time just plain moist soil will work just fine. Remember to leave 1-2 nodes and remove any lower leaves and gently push the stem into the soil, making sure the nodes are covered. Keeping the soil moist is vital to helping the roots grow - just keep the soil around the stem wet until your plant grows larger. Then you can start watering further out away from your stem.

Try It Out

No matter which technique you use to propagate your plants, remember that some may take longer than others. Don’t be discouraged if a cutting doesn’t take root and you have to start again. To help encourage healthy rooting here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Cut healthy leaves and stems

  • Cut stems at a 45 degree angle with a clean, sharp utensil. Frayed edges leave dead tissue that will rot and make it difficult for plants to uptake water properly. Clean containers and utensils decrease the risk of disease and bacteria growth.

  • If using the water-rooting technique, change out water frequently as you notice it getting murky. Plants need fresh oxygen and clean water!

We’d love to see what plants you’re propagating! Tag us in a photo of your plant babies. If you’re looking for some fun propagation tools, we have some goodies in the shop for you! Look for sharp pruning scissors, fun pots, and new propagation tubes. Happy growing - we’re rooting for you!

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