Plant Propagation for Beginners

Propagation is one of the best things about plants. It lets you reproduce and grow new plants at home without having to buy them from the nursery or garden center.

In this article, I will discuss in detail all about plant propagation for beginners. This way, you can grow more of your favorite plant at home.

Best of all, it is easy to do.

 

Propagation

Houseplant propagation is simply creating new plants from the ones you already have. This is a great way to grow more plants without having to buy more from the garden center.

I love propagating plants because it not only lets you save money, but there’s also something very fulfilling about it. At least for me.

In any case, there are many ways to propagate plants. In many instances, the best method is determined by the plant’s structure. We’ll go into that in the steps below.

But for now, you’ll learn 3 different ways (6 in total) to propagate your houseplants.

These are:

  • Separation
  • Division
  • Cutting (there are 4 ways here)

 

Separation

We start with the simplest method first.

Separation is using the an offset of a plant to produce more plants.

Here, you’ll:

  1. Cut the offset at the end of the stolon.
  2. Then replant it in its own pot. This will allow the offset to grow into its own plant.
  3. Water the offset and keep it in a humid environment to allow the root system to develop.

 

Division

Division is another houseplant propagation technique.

It works well for plants that have multiple crowns. Unfortunately, the method doesn’t work for plants with a single crown.

This makes division a great option for anthuriums, peace lilies, and elephant ears.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Knock over the container to get the entire plant out, including the root ball.
  2. Next, take a look and see how many plants extend from the root ball.
  3. You can divide each of these plants. So, if there are 2 plants present, you get 2 smaller plants. If there’s more than 2, you need to make a choice.
  4. You can cut multiple plants up to the maximum number. For example, if there are 5 plants, you can divide it into 5, 4, 3 or 2. This makes division a good choice from plants that are starting to outgrow their containers.
  5. Depending on how dense the root ball is, you may be able to break it into different parts with your hands.
  6. If not, you’ll need to use a knife to get the job done.
  7. Don’t worry if you break some roots in the process. It’s not a problem.
  8. Once you’ve divided them, pot each of the smaller plants separately.
  9. Then let it grow away from direct sunlight while giving it the right amount of humidity and water.

 

Cuttings

Cutting is basically wounding a plant by cutting it. Then, taking the part that’s been cut off and “replanting” it. Soon enough, it will regrow.

Thus, allowing you to make new plants without having to start from seeds or buying them from the store.

It can be done by taking the root, leaves or stem. Which one you get will depend on the kind of plant you’re dealing with.

Cutting is a popular way of propagating houseplants.

One reason is that it’s very easy to do.

Also, the new plant will be exactly like its parent. Since you’re cutting and “replanting” a part of a plant, the new one that grows will be identical to the one you have.

 

Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are made along the main stem right under any leaf. But you want to get a good-sized segment (4-6 inches long) that includes several nodes.

One reason is you’ll be leaving in a jar. If you get a segment that’s too small, it will be submerged in the water.

Smaller cuttings are also more prone to wilting.

  1. Look for a node. Nodes are just below where the leaves connect to the main stem
  2. Cut off the excess leaves because they’ll just end up in the water.
  3. Put the cutting in a jar of water
  4. Change the water every few days to keep it from getting murky
  5. Soon it will start growing roots. Roots grow faster during the spring and summertime.
  6. Once the roots appear, transplant the cuttings into a container with potting mix.

Below is a chart that lists down the plants that propagate well from stem cuttings. On the right column, it tells you how many weeks it takes the stem cuttings to root.

chart of list of plants that can be propagated from stem cuttings including time to root
chart of list of plants that can be propagated from stem cuttings including time to root

 

Related

 

Leaf Cuttings

Leaf cutting is another way you can propagate some houseplants. Here, instead of cutting the stem, you’ll be cutting off a leaf.

From there, the new plant will grow. As it gets bigger, the original leaf will then be discarded. So, it won’t be part of the new plant, which is what happens with stem cutting.

 

Types of Leaf Cuttings

Here are 2 different ways you can go about doing leaf cuttings

 

Leaf Blade Cuttings

With some plants, you can cut an entire blade of leaf and replant it. This is called leaf blade cutting. It works well for snake plants for example.

  1. Cut the leaf off. If the plant has big leaves like the snake plant, cut near the base.
  2. Then cut up the leaf into segments
  3. Mark each of the segments so you know which side is up. Plants have polarity. So, you can’t just replant it upside down if you want it to grow properly.
  4. Next, dip each segment into the rooting hormone.
  5. Then place them a few centimeters into the potting mix.
  6. Spray a little water

 

Leaf Vein Cuttings

This is another kind of leaf-cutting. This time, you’ll cut off the base of the leaf and use the entire leaf.

  1. Cut off the leaf a little below it.
  2. Turn the leaf over and get rid of any excess stem.
  3. Then cut the leaf into several segments, making sure that each of the segments has a part of the major vein.
  4. Place the segments onto the potting mix. You can pin them on to keep them in place. You can use a hairpin or anything just to keep it in place.
  5. From there, new plants will grow.

 

Below is a chart that lists popular plants that can be propagated from leaf cuttings. To their right right, it shows you the number of weeks for the leaf cuttings to root.

chart with list of plants that can be propagated from leaf cuttings and time to root for each plant
chart with list of plants that can be propagated from leaf cuttings and time to root for each plant

 

Root Cuttings

Root cutting is the least popular option when it comes to this propagation method. But, it’s useful for certain kinds of plants.

It’s also a bit messier. So, you’ll want to get a workspace ready.

  1. Take out the plant to expose the root ball.
  2. Lay in on its side so you can get a good look at the root ball.
  3. Pull out one of the longer roots.
  4. Then cut it off. You want a fairly long cut. This lets you divide it into several segments to grow multiple new plants.
  5. Like in stem cutting, keep track of the top side. In this case, the root tip is the bottom side and the crown side is up.
  6. Additionally, do the same for each segment. Thus, making sure you know the top and bottom sides of each segment.
  7. Now, get a tray that’s big enough for the root cuttings. If you only want to make one or two then use a smaller container.
  8. Bury each of the tips 2-3 inches into the potting mix.