The Best and Easiest Guide to Propagating Houseplants (2021)

A propagation is the process of growing a new plant from cuttings or seeds.

However, it is not as complicated as it seems.  You just need to give your new plant time to grow.  Getting your plants to grow will be easier if you read this article on how to propagate them.

Methods of Cutting

Most people propagate their houseplants by taking plant cuttings.  In some cases, this method is more difficult than others, depending on the houseplant.

Cuttings from Stems

Propagation using this method is the most common.  There are two types of stems on a parent plant: regular stems and side stems.  Flowers and leaves grow from them.  They should not be cut when they are flowering, but only when they are growing.  The cutting should be made beneath the leaf node, or joint, with a sharp knife.  The length can range from three to five inches.  The lower leaves should be removed.  Plant the stem after dipping the bottom inch in rooting hormone.  You are more likely to succeed if you do this during the spring and summer.

A mix of half perlite and half peat moss is best.  If you are going to provide indirect light and bottom heating, make sure you are doing it.  If you gently tug on the cutting and it resists, you will know that they are taking root.  When you dig it up, you should check the root growth and then plant it in a pot.

Cuttings of Roots

To take root cuttings, you will need a decent section of root that you can cut into segments of two to four inches.  You should plant five or more root cuttings in order to improve your chances of success.  Make sure you plant the root end closest to the top, or crown, of the plant.  Cuttings are made during the winter when plants are dormant and the new growth will appear in the spring.

Cuttings from Leaves

This method can be used if the plant does not have a main stem.  This method can be applied in three ways with leaf cuttings.

  • A leaf cut with about half an inch or two of petiole means that you’ve got leaves on the shoot.  It is the most common way to take a whole leaf.  Saintpaulias and Peperomias use this method.
  • Leaf: Most cacti and succulents have a crown of leaves and no woody stems, so they reliant on the leaf.
  • A section of a leaf cut: Sansevieria and Streptocarpus do this method.

All of the methods above follow a similar process, but the process specified by each plant is different.  Each plant will require a different method for cutting its leaves.

Propagation by Seeds

You can start many houseplants at a low cost using this method.  Taking this route, your plant may not be display-ready for months, so you need to be patient.

  • Plant the soil in pots or trays and mist them with water.  Add a fourth inch of sphagnum moss.  Put the seeds in shallow rows or across the moss, pushing them into the soil.
  • You can cover large seeds with moss if they are large seeds.  Cover it again with plastic or glass and place it on top of a refrigerator or heating pad.  Put the seed in the light conditions specified on the seed packet.  Mist it again when the moss has dried.
  • When the seedlings start breaking through the moss, remove the glass or plastic and move them to brighter light.  Transplant them after the second set of leaves has developed.  Hold the seedlings by their leaves rather than the stem when you dig them up.
  • A seedling should have its own pot filled to within half an inch of the top with light soil.  Firm the soil around each stem, but do not bury the leaves.  They should be placed in more bright light and watered immediately.

Propagating and Dividing Tips

  • You can divide the new bulbs from the old if the parent bulb produces small bulbs off the side and plant them like the parent bulb.
  • If the bulbs, like the achimenes, are made of many scales that look like pinecones, you can just remove one, pot it, and water it.
  • You should cut underground tubers into several pieces if they produce underground tubers, such as Begonias.  There must be an eye on each piece.  Plant the wounds as soon as possible after applying fungicide

Propagation Examples

  • Rex Begonia: Unlike most, this one uses healthy leaves for growing. Simply place them in moist soil, top side up.  Pin the leaf down so that the cuts make contact with the soil after cutting a few veins.  Plant the plantlets that grow from the cuts after keeping moist.
  • African Violet: Cut the stem with a leaf at least one inch long.  Incorporate the stems into a peat-based mix or water. Plant the leaves as soon as the roots form if you are using water.  The roots will be planted after they have established themselves in the peat-based mix.
  • Snake Plant: Cut a leaf section into sections and poke a hole at the bottom. Dip the seeds in the rooting powder and plant them in moist soil.

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