How to Propagate a Plant: Everything You Need to Know
Learning how to propagate a plant is easy. Here's everything you need to know—plus the easiest plant to get started with.
Learning how to propagate a plant is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a plant parent. The word “propagation” may sound like some type of overtly scientific process only trained botanists know how to do. In reality, propagation is just a fancy term for multiplying plants, either from most commonly understood seeds or from cuttings.
"Cuttings" are precisely what they sound like. They're just cut-off pieces of either a plant’s leaves, stems, or roots (depending on the species) that can quickly regenerate into a new plant. Some people may remember the term asexual reproduction from biology class; propagation from cuttings is just that!
How to Propagate a Plant
Not only can learning how to propagate a plant be a fun learning activity (for you or even your kids!), but through at-home propagation, you can also save a lot of money—especially if you intend to make your home a mini houseplant jungle. If turning your home into a jungle isn’t your thing, then plant cuttings can make a lovely gift to friends or family, too.
If you pair a plant with a thrifted flowerpot or something made by your favorite ceramic artist, you have the perfect gift. Propagation is simple and sustainable. Want to try propagating a plant of your own? We have a great starter option to work with: the pothos.
Perfect for Propagation: The Pothos
A notoriously simple and popular plant to learn how to propagate is the pothos plant. The pothos is astonishingly low-maintenance and makes a beautifully decorative houseplant. The leafy vine-like plant also goes by the nickname "devil’s ivy" due to its evergreen nature. Here's how to propagate a plant. (In this case, a pothos!)
Step 1: Adopt a Pothos
To get started on your at-home propagation journey, just stop by your local greenhouse to pick up your very own pothos plant. Inspect the plant first, and depending on your liking, choose whatever plant size you want to invest in for your mother plant.
Typically when you purchase plants, they're unfortunately sold in plastic pots. However, you can always reuse the pots. Then the more you propagate, the less you'll be dependent on purchasing new plants in plastic pots.
Step 2: Cut Below the Node
When you’re ready to start propagating from the mother plant, identify the “nodes” on the stems. Nodes look like little bumps and indicate the spot where the leaf attaches to the stem. From the nodes, roots will sprout! Simply use scissors or gardening shears to snip right below the node at an angle to make your very own cutting.
Step 3: Place in Water
Now that you have your cuttings, just place them in water. You can use recycled glass yogurt cups, mason jars, or any other small container of choice. You can change the water every few days and watch your pothos grow.
Placing your cuttings on a kitchen windowsill, on your desk, or even in your bathroom can even add a decorative touch to your space.
Step 4: Plant in Pot
Once you notice visible roots, typically after six weeks, your pothos should be ready for potting. All you need is some indoor potting soil mix and a ceramic pot of your choosing.
You can keep your pothos cuttings in water longer, if you want, for aesthetic purposes. Just remember that the longer you keep the cuttings in water, the harder it may be for your cutting to adapt to soil.
Pothos Plant Care
Now that you have a new pothos plant, how do you go about caring for it? Pothos tend to do well in indirect light or low light conditions, so no need to fret if you only have North-facing windows. They like to be watered every 1 to 2 weeks, or when the soil is looking dry. As an aside, it's also important to remember to keep your plant in a pot with a hole at the bottom for drainage.
If your pothos ever starts to yellow or experience stunted growth, no need to panic. Your pothos could be telling you that it’s time to repot because it has outgrown its home and become rootbound.
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