One of the joys of houseplants is that often if you have one, you can easily turn it into two. It’s the magic of propagation.
There are three basic ways to propagate your houseplants – by literally dividing them at the root, by cutting off a stem, or by transforming a single leaf from your “parent” plant and using it to grow a whole new one.
The best time to divide your houseplants is spring because that’s when plants emerge from their winter rest and start growing again.
You’ll start by gently removing your plant from its pot and taking a look at the root ball. Determine the best area to divide – essentially an area with a nice, healthy section of roots.
With a sharp, clean knife, cut a section off the original plant. Make sure that the roots stay intact during this process.
Replant the divided plant as soon as possible into new potting soil and make sure to water and place the plants in a warm location with bright, indirect light.
Good plants to propagate by dividing: Sansevieria, ZZ Plant and Peace Lily.
Rooting a new plant from a leaf requires that you get a clean cut from the parent plant. You’ll need to let the leaf dry out and scab over, otherwise it will absorb too much moisture, leading to root rot.
Take the leaf and dip the “raw” tip of it – where you separated it from the main plant – in a rooting hormone. You’ll want to place about two thirds of the leaf into fresh potting soil. You’ll also want to make sure you are planting it in the same direction it was growing in before it was cut.
Again, keep your new plant warm and water according to the plant’s normal requirements.
Good plants to propagate by leaf cutting: Jade, Snake Plant and Pepermonia.
You can typically grow a new plant from stem cuttings in either soil or water. You’ll see the progress your plant is making more easily if you propagate in water and that can be fun!
This is probably the most common method of propagation, using a healthy shoot of new growth about five to 10 inches long as the starting point of your new plant.
You can cut it off with shears or scissors at an angle, preferably just below a leaf joint. Clear away young foliage at the bottom that could inhibit the stem from actually developing roots. If you are propagating succulents, let them dry for a few hours to seal off the edge and reduce the likelihood of rotting.
After your cutting(s) have grown an adequate root system (usually a couple of months) you can repot.
Good plants to propagate by stem rooting: Dracaena, Pothos, Monstera
If you have any questions about caring for your houseplants, or using propagation to increase how many you have, please stop by and ask – we’d be glad to help.