There’s a really easy way to get new plants for free — propagating them from plants you already own. And often it’s also super healthy for your existing plants, who would have thought?
What is plant propagation?
The short version: plant propagation means taking a stem or leaf from an existing plant and growing it into a new plant. There are three ways to do this.
1. in water
2. in soil
3. through air layering
My personal favourite way to propagate plants is in water. It’s not only the easiest way, I also love seeing the roots grow. Soil and air layering are other ways — but they are not as fool proof in my opinion. That doesn’t mean propagating in water always works, I’d say it works about 80% of the time. You’d also do well to research specific plants if your propagating does not work out. If you want to propagate a monstera, for example when you want to root a Monstera, you need to take a leaf with an aerial root attached.
Why would I propagate my plants?
Because it’s fun and exciting (if you’re anything like me, that is), but there are of course a multitude of other reasons to propagate your plants.
1. Your plant might be dying, but can be saved through propagation
2. You want to give one of your plants a ‘fuller’ look, after growing new roots on the baby plants, you can easily plant them back with the mother plant.
3. for presents! I love giving people little baby plants I propagated. Especially when they give me updates on the plants afterwards.
4. propagation stations just look cute in your house, let’s be honest.
Propagating your plants in water: what you need
1. a small (glass) bottle, cup or jar
2. clean scissors
3. room temperature water
4. your baby plant cutting
Your step-by-step guide
step 1: start by cutting your baby plant. It depends on the plant — often you cut a leaf with a stem, or a shoot that grows from the mother plant. Make sure the knife or scissors are clean to make sure the baby plant doesn’t get sick.
step 2: place the baby plant in the bottle, jar or cup right after cutting.
step 3: place it in a window or another spot where it gets lots of bright but indirect sunlight. The general rule is that fresh cuttings loooove light.
step 4: leave the cutting be for about 2 weeks, and make sure to change the water every 4 – 7 days. You should start seeing roots grow after the first week, although it depends on the plant and the time of year.
step 5: leave the baby plant in the water until the roots are 5 – 10 cm. Afterwards you can plant the rooted baby in a small pot with some fresh soil. The plant will be weak still, but after another month or so it will be as strong as an adult plant, and you could even start propagating this new plant!
Getting into propagation can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s actually incredibly easy when you know the basics. And before you know it, your entire house will be a huge, beautiful jungle.