Skip to content

How to Propagate a Plant

How to Propagate a Plant
By Haley Fox - Indoor Plant Specialist

Hello Plant friends! Today we’re going to go over some different methods of propagation. Surely, you’ve seen those beautiful photos plastered on social media , of little plant cuttings in glass jars, filled with roots. Not only do they make very interesting decor pieces, propagating is a great way to expand your collection!

Propagating is the process of replicating your existing plant, from just a piece of it. This could be a seed, a cutting, or even by root division. There are many different methods of propagating, and many of the houseplants you already have will be so easy to work with. Let’s dive into how to do it.

One of my favorite propagations I have in my house are Ivy stems. Ivy can be a finicky plant to care for, but I’ve never had trouble with these little cuttings. They look beautiful in a vase as living decor, or you can eventually plant them up in soil.

To propagate ivy, just cut a few trailing stems off your existing ivy plant. Remove the lower leaves. You should have a few inches of stem to place in the water. Make sure the leaves stay above the surface. Within a few weeks you will see roots developing. Using clear jars is a great option as well, it’s very rewarding to watch those roots grow over time. If you are hoping to transfer them to soil, make sure you have a few inches of healthy roots established before doing so.

Plants like Rex begonias, African violets, or peperomias can also be propagated by just a stem cutting. Cut down about 3-4 inches from the leaf, and place in water, making sure the leaf remains above the surface. Roots will develop followed by leaves, this often occurs underwater and is delightful to watch. Unlike Ivy, that will just grow roots, a stem cutting from one of these plants can actually reproduce the entire plant at the bottom of the stem.

You can even water propagate larger plants, such as the Ficus Lyrata. If it's grown too tall, you can cut the top off, remove the lower leaves, and place in water. Wait for roots before you plant!

Another favorite propagation plant of mine is Monstera Deliciosa. This is such an easy plant to propagate and, because they do grow so big, this can be a great way to make use of the pieces you may need to prune along the way.

To propagate your Monstera plant, you want to locate a node, this is the point of a stem where growth comes from.

Roots from one side and your new leaf from the other side. Cut just below the node, and place in water. Water propagation can be conducted on plants like Pothos, Philodendron vining varieties, etc. Any plant you can identify a node, you can propagate.

Tip for success: Change the water regularly, every few days.

Though this propagation can be planted up in a few weeks time, I like to leave mine in a vase for quite a while. I intentionally choose a cutting with big leaves and lots of fenestrations. After all that is this plant's most striking feature, and what a better way to highlight this, than on your countertops or coffee table.

I love using propagations as a stand in for fresh cut flowers, that may only last a few days.

Another popular method of propagation is using peat or sphagnum moss. This method requires a little more attention but is really rewarding. As opposed to leaving your cutting in water, you’ll be leaving it in damp moss, which will eventually generate root growth. Two key elements to this technique being successful are bright light and humidity.

Humidity is important as you do not want the moss to dry out, nor do you want it to be soggy. You may choose to contain this in a plastic bag (with a few holes for air circulation). You want to keep things humid, but you don’t want to suffocate your plant. Mason jars are another great option for smaller cuttings.

Once you can see a few inches of roots, it’s time to plant in soil. Clear containers are always best for this type of process so you can see what’s going on. As mentioned above, any plant you can locate a node, will be great for this.

To water, I’d suggest misting down the moss whenever the top 1/3 is dry.

Root Division is the quickest form of propagation. This is great for plants like Calatheas / Maranta plants, as these do not root as easily. For this process, you’ll need to take your plant out of its current pot. Clear the soil around the roots of your existing plant and find an area that you can easily separate.

As you can see in the image below, several cuttings, or smaller plants, make up your 6in or 8in plant. Find a grouping that looks right, and don’t be afraid to tug it from the main root system, (gently).

Try to salvage as many roots for both plants as possible. Once you’ve done this, you can pot your original plant back up, as well as your “new” plant.

Propagating is a wonderful way to expand your collection, feed your plant addiction, and your new plants will even make great gifts to pass on. I hope you found this blog helpful, and as always, thank you so much for reading!

A Haley Fox Blog