Save Money by Propagating Plants
Indoor plants are a great way to bring a little bit of the outdoors 'in' but collecting houseplants can quickly become an expensive pastime.
Below we discuss four easy ways to propagate your own plants and build an impressive collection. Go 'green' and create cost effective house plants or gifts for family and friends that will delight and impress.
Many people don't realise that succulents can also be propagated and grown in water. Our exclusive range of ceramic vases are ideal as the narrow necks support the succulents. Create living, green 'rock' installations that require little attention but create maximum impact! We have included a special section at the end of this blog explaining how to grow succulents in water.
- Plant cuttings
- Secateurs or sharp scissors
- Old jam jar(s)
- Plastic plant pot(s)
- Good quality potting mix
- Marker pen
- Hormone rooting powder (optional)
- Hair clips or wire (for method four)
Method One – Stem Cuttings
One of the easiest forms of propagation, this method is great for popular indoor plants such as the Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum cv.), Philodendron varieties, fiddle leaf figs and Hoyas.
- Using clean, sharp secateurs or scissors cut about 10cm off the end of a stem, positioning the cut just below a node (the spot where a leaf joins the main stem).
- Remove the bottom leaf and place the stem into a jar of clean water.
- Replace the water every few days until you can see roots growing.
- Once roots have developed, transplant the cutting into a pot with good quality potting mix.
Method Two – Side Shoot Cuttings
Often referred to as “pups”, side shoots are baby plants that grow from the side of the “mother plant.” This is common in plants like succulents, bromeliads and many indoor plants, including the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides). On spider plants they form on the side stems.
- Locate the side shoot or pup at the base of the plant.
- Gently cut the side shoot down the side to just below the level of the soil to separate it. Avoid cutting off any little roots.
- Place the cutting into some well-drained potting mix and compost blend.
- Keep moist but not damp and a new plant will develop in no time!
Method Three – Leaf Blade Cuttings
Turn one plant into many using a leaf blade cutting! Great for indoor plants including the ever-popular Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata cv.).
- Take a cutting from the base of the Snake Plant leaf as close to the soil as possible.
- Cut the leaf into segments of around 10cm each in length, and place a small mark on each cutting to indicate the “top”.
- Allow the segments to site for a couple of days until the ends dry off and they develop a callous.
- Dip the base of the calloused cuttings into some rooting hormone powder (see tips below).
- Place cuttings about 3cms deep into a pot containing a blend of perlite and coco-fibre. A free draining, coarse potting mix will also work.
- Gently mist or water in and keep moist but not wet. Snake plants do not like too much water.
Method Four – Leaf Vein Cuttings
For any indoor plant with prominent leaf veins this is a terrific method of making more plants. It works with varieties such as Begonia Rex, African Violets, Peperomia species and many more.
- Snip a leaf from the main plant and, with a sharp knife, remove any stem as close to the petiole as possible. (The petiole is the point where the stem attaches to the leaf.)
- Place the leaf face-down onto a surface so that veins are visible, including the large mid or main vein.
- Cut leaf into segments, including a section of the main vein in each cutting.
- Place the cuttings face-up on the surface of a rich potting mix blend, and secure in place with a hair clip, bobby-pin or piece of wire.
- Once roots have developed, cuttings can be gently transplanted to their own pots.
Growing tip: Using rooting hormone
Many gardeners dip plant cuttings into a rooting hormone to increase the chances, and speed, of them growing new roots.
The hormone comes in a number of forms; powder, liquid or gel.
The liquid form is sold ready-to-use and is usually a concentrate that needs to be diluted first. Powder has a longer shelf life than liquid and is often cheaper. Gel is convenient but often more expensive; it also comes in different strengths.
Whatever form you choose, always pour a small amount into a separate container and dip the plant stem or leaf into this, to avoid contaminating the whole mix.
Propagating and growing succulents in water
Water propagation is easier than the more ‘conventional’ methods of rooting on soil or dry medium. In fact, some people only propagate succulent cuttings by the water method because they see faster results and greater success overall.
Succulent plants sitting in wet soil are exposed to fungus and pathogens in the soil that introduce diseases to the plant, causing root rot. When propagating in water, the plants are not exposed to the pathogens normally present in the soil medium and therefore, they do not suffer from rot.
The water does not need to be changed and with our narrow-neck vases there is very little evaporation. Check the plants after about two weeks but you probably won't need to top up the water.
Get a cutting. Snip a stem cutting from a succulent plant. Plants that have become leggy can be a great source of stem cuttings. Leave about two inches or more of bare stem.
OR Instead of a stem cutting you can also use leaves, or both stems and leaves to propagate.
Choose healthy leaves. You will have better success when you start with a healthy leaf. Choose leaves that are not damaged, ripped, torn or misshapen. Look for full and plump leaves, not dehydrated and flat leaves.
Gently remove the leaves from the stem. Using your fingers, gently twist off the leaves from the stem with your thumb and forefinger. Some leaves come off easily, some are firmly attached to the stem.
Gently wiggle the leaf back and forth until the whole leaf comes off. You want the whole leaf including the base that attaches to the stem. If the base of the leaf does not come off, or if the leaf gets damaged, it will not survive.
Let the cuttings dry. Allow the cutting to dry for a couple of days until the cut end have calloused or dried.
Place in water. Place the cutting so that the end of the stem or leaf is resting just above the surface of the water or let the end of the cutting touch the water. Both methods work just as well.
Place in a bright spot, in a sunny or well lit area.
Wait for roots to grow. Add water as needed. Roots will usually take about 4 to 6 weeks to appear.
Instead of planting the rooted cuttings leave the cuttings in water. The cuttings will continue to live and survive in water indefinitely. Change the water out and replenish with fresh clean water every few weeks or as needed.
Succulents growing in water hydroponically look great and are easy to care for. They can be left outdoors or indoors, with plenty of light.