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made with love: plant propagation

by amym

As an apartment dweller, I feel crazied each spring with dreams of having a real proper outdoor garden. Sadly, it isn’t in the cards so I usually redouble my houseplant efforts. Instead of buying new houseplants to feed my addiction, Ipropagate the ones I already have. Pruning stimulates new growth and you end up with a new baby plant to keep or give away. A win/win for poor houseplant hoarders the world over. –amy m.

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

What you’ll need:
– Cuttings from a house plant to be propagated. I’ve been successful with rex begonias, ivy, spider plants, pothos and wandering jew.
– clear glass vessel
– potting soil and pot

– With a sharp pair of clippers or kitchen scissors, cut leaf from plant at base.

– Place in small glass container with suitable natural light. Roots should form within several weeks depending on the plant. The pothos above roots quickly, just a week or two. The rex begonia was cut a month and a half before planting.

– When you have significant root growth, remove cutting from water.

– Fill a small pot with potting soil and poke a finger sized hole in the center. Lower Rooted cutting into the hole and gently compact. Monitor water levels as small pots tend to dry out with more frequency.

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  • Great little tutorial! I just did this at home too, with some bamboo and a fortune tree.

    My mom (with her amazing mom wisdom) pointed out to me how important it is that you put the newly-rooted plant into a small pot when you first plant it.

    If the pot is too big, the plant will work extra hard trying to make roots to fill that pot, as opposed to developing the rest of the plant above the soil.

    A small pot will make sure it gets enough of a root system to survive, but won’t take all that extra growing energy away from it.

    It’s working so far with my two new plants :)

  • i love it! this is not only great for apartment dwellers! my father in law swears by it for his outdoor garden/heavenly haven! He won’t even let us TALK about buying plants because it’s so easy to just take clippings from him (or the side of the road! haha)!

  • I have been thinking of getting some more plant for my apt. So this post is right on time. Last summer I have limited success with growing baby lettuce in my window box. I hope it works out better this year.

  • hey hey hey! thank you!!!!!!!!!11 i am so excited to try this out! i couldn’t quite figure out how to do this by the ehow page, so this is grrreat!

  • I’m so ignorant about plants I did not know you could do this. Thank you so much! I have a small deck I want to furnish with plants, but was despairing because I am on such a tight budget. Now I will just propagate the plants I do have, and maybe take some clippings from friends!

    This is great, thank you!

  • I’m a total black thumb and have had success propagating pothos plants using this method. you’ve given me courage to try it out with some other houseplants as well! great diy project as usual, amy!

  • ‘As an apartment dweller, I feel crazied each spring with dreams of having a real proper outdoor garden.’

    This sounds like me, exactly (although I also go crazy in the spring with plans for my little balcony – before I come back down to Earth and realize it can only support so many tomatoes).

    I took some clippings from a hanging plant a few months ago and they’ve survived in nothing but water – but they won’t grow roots! They’re green and happy, but still, nothing but the tiniest, mm-long root. It’s a mystery.

  • Question: How long can you keep a propagated plant in water … I’ve been bad and haven’t bought potting soil to finally plant my pothos clippings (which now have significant roots). Have I damaged the plant by keeping it in water too long?

  • this also works great with herbs! i have lime mint, rosemary, lemon verbena, and chocolate mint all grown from this method and happily sitting in little pots around my house. and the perk is that they’re edible!

  • c_tyler, I had a pothos clipping in water alone for almost a year before finally getting my act together to pot it last month. It’s doing fine now, just harder to see when it needs more water!

  • Beautiful, I especially love the old Pyrex beakers. I have a few not in use, I think I’ll try some easy herbs in them.

  • I love this idea! I have an immortal pothos plant that is taking over! I’m going to try to start a few others with cuttings (maybe even to give as gifts?!?)

  • From my experience in this type of cloning, the plants can survive in the water for a long time, but after 3 or 4 weeks the clippings do start to express nitrogen depravation (usually a yellowing of leaves). Slower growing shade tolerant plants (of which most houseplants are) last much longer in this nutrient deficient state.

  • Do you folk think it is a no-no to take small cuttings from plants in public parks? One small cutting won’t harm a plant, but if everyone in the city was doing it, there’d be no plants left….. I’m usually a very good girl, but this is so tempting….

  • Just a quick note – as I work/study in horticulture….
    You will have greater success if you take the cuttings with a knife as opposed to scissors or clippers. It will damage the cut end less and therefore promote better rooting.
    Also, for spider plants and other plants which send off stolon (like vines) with plantlets on the end. If you simply plant the plantlet in a pot beside the original and then cut it off once the roots are established this works really well. And will not result in nitrogen deficiency.
    Succulents will root, but slowly. Take a cutting and put it in DRY soil. Put a clear bag around the pot, sealed. Keep out of direct light. It can take 3 weeks plus for rooting, but if you’re patient it will work. Only water once roots/callus has begun.

  • My mom was a genius at this, and many of the plants that flourished in our California yard were snipped elsewhere and discreetly dropped in her purse, to be rooted later at home. In fact we always called the ivy that eventually covered our back fence “college ivy” in honor of its academic beginnings.

  • Nice and easy. I use to do the same with some “clhlorophitum comosum” and “crassula”. Sorry, I’m french and I don’t know the name of these plants in english, but it works also !