How To Propagate House Plants
How To Propagate House Plants
People who own house plants know full well that caring for them can be a fun, albeit daunting, task. Some people try to get their hands on the simplest kind of plants they can find so that they won’t have to care for them every single day. Others, who love to grow plants, tend to take on more challenges. One of these challenges is the propagation of their plants so that they can add to their collection and also in case they want to gift a meaningful home grown present to someone close.
Propagation of plants can be a simple process if you enjoy spending time with plants. Given here are some ways you can achieve this:
The Most Popular Way – Stem Cuttings
Any plant with a noticeable stem can be propagated by this method. It involves taking the stem and inserting it into a growing medium which helps it develop roots and grow as a full plant. The steps required for this process are mentioned as follows:
• Choose a healthy section of a stem that has a minimum of three nodes.
• Make sure that, after being cut, the lowest node doesn’t have any leaves or flowers growing out of it.
• In order to root this cutting, choose either water or a rooting mix like soil-less growing media, sand, vermiculite, or perlite. Choosing a rooting mix is a better option for healthy growth.
• Fill a pot with the media and add some water to dampen it.
• Puncture a hole into the mix where the stem will be inserted.
• Insert the stem so that one or two nodes are inside the mix, and then cover the mix with plastic sheet to maintain the humidity required for proper growth.
• Keep the cutting in bright, but indirect, sunlight and ensure warm temperature.
• Remove the plastic when the plant has started to grow on its own.
Congratulations, your plant has now been propagated! One thing to note is that in case of cacti or other succulents, you have to wait for the cuttings to heal over before you can use them. When a cutting is potted, don’t cover it in plastic because that will cause rotting in case of succulents.
The Easiest Method – Leaf Cuttings
For the lucky few who have the right kinds of plants, leaf cuttings prove to be the simplest method for plant propagation. The following steps can be used to grow a new plant:
• Including the stalk, break off a whole leaf.
• Choose a rooting medium from the ones mentioned above, and place the stalk in it.
• Cover the medium with plastic as in the stem cutting method.
• Wait for new plant-lets to sprout at the base of the potted leaf.
• Once these plant-lets have rooted, you can pot each plant-let individually.
There are some plants, including snake plants and florist’s Gloxinias, which can propagate even with a small leaf section as opposed to the whole leaf. All you need to do is cut the leaf into sections, with each section having a major vein, and place them so that the base is a little covered by the rooting mix.
For plants with Trailing Stems – Layering
There are some plants with trailing stems, or those like the spider plant that produce baby plants, which can be propagated by the method of layering.
• Choose a rooting mix and fill a pot with it.
• Place the pot under a section of the stem.
• Pin the stem down into the mix by using a hairpin or something similar.
• The stem will start rooting and then you can cut it free from the plant and let it grow on its own.
Plants that can be grown in this fashion include Boston ferns, episcias, and pothos, among others.
For Thick Stems – Air Layering
There are plants that have thick and woody stems, which makes the method of stem cuttings unsuitable for propagation. These trees or shrubs can be propagated by the process of air layering.
• At the main stem, make a cut that is almost halfway through. The cut should be placed about one third of the way below the growing tip.
• Stop the cut from healing over by inserting a sliver of wood or something similar in it.
• Choose a rooting compound and apply it to the cut.
• Take a handful of sphagnum moss and cover the cut with it.
• Wrap the moss up in plastic sheet and attach the sheet with the stem as well.
• Make sure that the moss stays moist.
• When the roots are formed, take the new plant and pot it in a separate pot.
For the plants that grow in Clumps – Division
The steps to propagate a plant that grows in clumps are as follows:
• Remove the plant from its pot.
• Take the root ball and break it up into sections. Make sure that each root ball has at least one rooted stem.
• Simply plant all these divisions as individual plants.
There are also some plants that produce small baby plants at their bases. These babies, or offsets, can be cut off from the mother plant once they reach about one third of their size. This is the size when most of these have developed roots. Simply put them in separate pots and treat as adult plants.
The Universal Method – Seeding
The most common method of propagation is seeding. The catch with this method is that seeds can be a little hard to get, but if you do get them from a seed company then this is a straightforward method.
• Place the seeds on top of a rooting mix, in a pot, and press gently into the mix.
• If the seeds are a little large, press them gently and cover with a thin layer of the mix.
• Cover the pot with a plastic sheet and place in bright light, in a warm area.
• Once the seeds grow into plantlets with at least 3 or 4 leaves, take the plastic off of them and put them in individual pots.
It can be very rewarding seeing your plants grow and propagate into new ones. If you have ever wanted to grow new plants from the ones you have but have been unsure of doing so, going through these steps can prove to be the motivation you were looking for.