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Propagating Houseplants: How to Make New Plants for Free!

Spring is upon and your plants will be starting to put on new growth so this is an ideal time to start propagating your houseplants. Although plants can be propagated year round you'll have greater chance of success during spring and summer.

In this blog I'll talk about the different methods you can use and which types of plant they work best for.

One of the easiest methods is water propagation, so let's start there...


PROPAGATING IN WATER: STEM CUTTINGS

Most Aroid plants can be propagated in water, such as, Aglaonemas, Pothos, Philodendrons, Monsteras, Syngoniums and ZZ plants.


Step by Step Guide:

1) Find a mature vine and look along the stem for small brown root nodes.

2) Snip off about 3 inches of healthy stem right before a node and include a node or two with the cutting, as this is where the new roots will come from.

3) Remove any lower leaves that would be submerged in water and leave a couple at the top.

4) Fill a glass jar with water. Ideally room temperature rainwater but tap water works too.

5) Place the jar in a bright position but out of direct sun.

6) Now the hard part, wait! It can take several weeks for the roots to appear depending on the plant and the time of year.

7) Check the water weekly and replace it with fresh tepid water. If it looks murky or there's any algae on the roots give the jar a wash and clean the roots off under the tap.

8) Allow the roots to grow to about 2 inches, then you can pot your cuttings into fresh moist, compost. Keep it in a bright spot out of direct sun and keep the soil moist but not soggy for the first couple of weeks.



PROPAGATING IN SOIL: LEAF CUTTINGS


In this video I am propagating Peperomia Watermelon from leaf cuttings.



Other plants that propagate well straight into soil include: tradescantia leaf with some stem (see photo), succulents and cacti, sansevieira aka 'snake plants'.



PROPAGATION BY DIVISION

When you have a mature, healthy plant that has got too big for it's pot you may be able to divide it by splitting the root ball into multiple pieces and repotting each piece to become its own plant. This works well for calatheas, peace lilies or most ferns.


It can get messy, so put down some newspaper or use a tray.


1) Remove your plant from its pot, to expose the roots. If it has become really rootbound you may need to ease a knife around the edge of the pot to loosen it or cut the pot open.

2) Carefully split the root ball so you have multiple plants. You can do this with your hands or a knife. Don't be scared. Plants are tough and want to grow!

3) Pot each plant into a new pot that is an inch or two larger than the root ball, using fresh peat-free compost.

4) Give it a drink so the soil is moist but not soggy. Then water as normal.



PROPAGATING OFFSETS & PLANTLETS


With this method the plant has kindly done most of the work for you. Offsets and plantlets or pups are miniature versions of the 'mother' plant that appear in the soil (offsets) or hang from a stem (plantlets). Only remove them once they have reached a decent size and look like mini plants, not when they are just developing.


Some plants that produce offsets include: Aloe vera, Bromeliads and Sansevieiria 'snake plants'.

Some plants that produce plantlets:

Pilea pepermioides aka 'Chinese Money plant', Spider plants and Mother of Thousands.


1) Cut off the plantlet using a sharp, clean knife or secaturs/scissors, or with offsets you can gently separate it by hand or a knife keeping a good amount of roots attached.

2) Pot your plantlet into moist but not soggy, peat-free compost. Then water as normal. Keep in a bright room out of direct sun to establish.



AIR LAYERING

Air layering works well for larger, woodier plants. If you have an old houseplant that's lost lots of lower leaves or perhaps your houseplant has reached the ceiling and you don’t know what to do with it? Then, air layering could be the answer!


It essentially involves bringing the soil to the stem, rather than the stem to the soil.

Plants like Ficus 'figs', 'rubber plants', Dracaena and Crotons can be propagated in this way.

This technique allows your cutting to actually form roots while it is still attached to the parent plant.




1) Using a sharp, clean knife make a long upward cut from 1 to 2 inches long, almost to the centre of the stem, leaving at least 2 foot of plant above.

2) Insert a toothpick or sliver of wood into the wound to hold it open.

3) If you have rooting powder, dust some onto the wound.

4) Fill a plastic sheet with a thick layer of moist peat-free compost and tie it around the cut stem, covering the open area.

4) Tie string around each end of the wrap to secure it

5) It may take several weeks to months before your cutting roots, depending on the plant and time of year.

6) When you can visibly see roots through the plastic, cut off the stem just below and re-plant it, carefully removing the plastic without disturbing the root ball.

7) Put it somewhere warm, bright and humid to establish out of direct sun.


Which houseplant and technique are you going to try? Share with us in the comments below or on Instagram or Facebook.



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