What is Plant Propagation?

Let’s talk propagation. If you are just getting into owning houseplants, you may have read this blog title and said something like “prop-a-what-a?” Well stick around, because from one plant parent to another, I’m here to tell you propagation is about to become your new best friend.

Propagation is defined as “to cause (an organism) to multiply by any process of natural reproduction from the parent stock. · to reproduce (itself, its kind, etc.), as an organism does.”

In simpler terms, propsagation is basically a way to take cuttings of your already existing plant, and create more plants! And let’s be real…who doesn’t want more plants. Did I mention this process is not only easy and done from the comfort of your own home, but also free!

Propagation Methods

Water Propagation

Houseplants can be propagated a number of ways, but the most popular method is via Water Propagation. This method is quite simple; all you need is a set of clean pruning shears, a clear vestibule for the cutting, water and a fairly sunny location.

Step 1: The first step in water propagation is using a set of clean pruning shears to take a cutting of your plant. Now, you can’t cut just anywhere. The key to successful propagation is to cut below a node! If you are unsure where this is, take a gander at the diagram below.

Step 2: The next step in water propagation is to leave the cutting out to callus for a day or two. To properly callus the cutting, place it in a warm dry place out of direct sunlight.

Step 3: Once your plant has callused, it’s time to submerge it in your clear vase with water. You don’t need any special kind of container–the only restrictions you have is that the container must be somewhat translucent to let the light reach the lower half of the plant.

Step 4: Place your vase somewhere with bright indirect sun and wait for root growth!

Once your plant has grown roots up to a couple inches long, you have the option of transplanting your cutting into a pot with soil, or just leaving it to grow in the water! If you opt. for the ladder, just be sure to keep an eye on water levels and any accumulation of mold or algae in your propagating plant.

Soil Propagation

Another, less popular method of propagation is the Soil Propagation method. To use this method, you will need an airy organic soil blend, (If you are struggling to find a good soil, pop over to Explorganics Plant Shop and check out our hand-mixed dirt-free soil!) a container with drainage, and a sunny location.

The pro of the soil propagation method is once your plant establishes roots, there is no worry of your cutting undergoing stress from the change of water to soil like it would go through in water propagation. The cons off this method are that you have to be a little more observant of your propagations for if you allow the soil to dry out, your cutting will struggle to sustain life, and it is harder to know if your efforts to grow roots are successful until further along in the process.

Step 1: Like in water propagation, you will use a set of clean pruning shears and cut below the node of your plant.

Step 2: Submerge the cutting node first into your organic soil blend as if you were planting it.

Step 3: Moisten the soil and place in a sunny location.

Step 4: Check on your soil propagation every few days to ensure it is moist.

Step 5: Be patient and wait for signs of new growth!

Propagation Basics

  1. Not All Plants Can Be Propagated

This might be a let down to some of you, hoping you can revive the last dying bits of your Calathea. But don’t fret! There are a plethora of plants that are so simple to propagate you could do it in your sleep.

  • Pothos!!!— These babies grow roots in the blink of an eye. Pop some Pothos cuttings in water and watch them grow.
  • Tradescantia— Maybe even faster rooting than the Pothos, the wandering dudes are one of the easiest plants to propagate!
  • Monstera— (Adansoni and Deliciosa) Both of these beauty queens are quick to grow in water
  • Scindapsus— Nicknamed the Satin Pothos, it’s only natural that these pretty trailing plants will propagate easily
  • Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma– AKA “Mini Monstera,” it’s a mouthful to say the name, but a synch to make more of these babies via water propagation
  • String of just about anything! Hearts, Pearls, Arrows, Bananas, you name it! Easily propagated in water or soil as long as they are given a bright indirect sunshine.

2. Propagation Requires Patience

Trust me when I say I’ve taken cuttings of plants and checked back every few hours for roots. Unfortunately, while some plants grow roots faster than others, growth takes time, and you will have to be patient with your plant.

3. Sometimes Propagation Fails

Nine times out of ten when you try our propagation methods with a plant on our suggested list, it will work! But plants die. And so do propagations. Maybe your plant was diseased or stressed before you took a cutting.

Written by Caroline Streett

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