While us humans need each other to take care of our offspring, our green amigos do it all by themselves. Well, with a little help from you of course! Which is why we have created a basic guide all about plant propagation. It may seem intimidating at first, but propagating plants can actually be a really fun activity that brings many rewards. Think about it. What could be better than getting plants for free? But be warned, as soon as you learn how to propagate plants, it's hard to stop. And before you know it, your home will be turned into your own plant nursery!
Step 1. Know the plant you want to propagate
Not all plants can be cut in the same way, so it's important to really understand the plant you wish to grow before beginning to propagate it. To start, here are some of the most common categories of plants and how they should be propagated:
Plants with stem (ex: Ficus, Yucca, Dracaena and Sansevieria)
Plants with stems are quite easy to propagate, as you can simply cut off one of their branches and plant it directly in soil or water. If your amigo does not have branches though, you can also choose to cut a piece from the top of its trunk. If you are doing this, make sure to cut a piece (preferably with pruning shears) that is between 10 and 20 centimetres thick, depending on the width of the plant's trunk, which you can then place in potting soil.
Please note, that while it may be uncomfortable to make your green amigo smaller by cutting its branches or trunk, we can guarantee that it's worth it and your amigo will continue to grow as normal!
Plants with aerial roots (ex: Monstera, Scindapsus Pictus and Spider Plant):
Some amigos like Alfredo and Bert have aerial roots. This means that their roots grow above ground (often on the plant's stem). For propagation, it is best to cut a piece of the aerial root just below the stem. The length of the root cutting doesn't really matter, as even a small piece of aerial root is enough to grow a baby plant. Once a piece of the root has been cut off, place it in water or potting soil.
Succulents (ex: Peperomia, Alöe Vera and Hawthoria)
Many succulents can be cut by carefully removing one of their leaves and inserting it into a pot of soil. But since the leaf has been removed from the mother plant, it will have a wound, which can make the new baby amigo susceptible to plant rot. To avoid this, we recommend leaving the leaf on a paper towel for a week so that it can form a scab. Once the scab is formed, place the cutting in a pot of soil (placing it in water will also lead to rot).
Plants with pups (ex: Pancake Plant, Bromeliad and Air Plant)
Some plants easily reproduce on their own and can make many smaller plant "pups". If you notice that your plant has baby plants around it, you can cut these with as much root as possible and put them in either water or potting soil. But be careful with the cutting. First, try to feel inside the potting soil to see how far the root goes and then gently pull the baby plant so that it loosens a bit. Then take a knife and cut it as deeply as possible, trying to get as much of the baby plant as you can.
Step 2. Collect the right material
Now that you know the type of cutting your plant needs, it's time to collect the right materials. The most important thing is to have pruning shears that are clean, as dirty shears can bring bacteria (and believe us, you really don't want that!).
Next, you must decide whether you want to place your cutting either in water or potting soil. If you place your cutting straight into the ground, make sure you use a pot that is not too big, or your plant may drown. If you are planning on placing your plant in water, make sure that the water is room temperature.
Step 3. Place your cutting in water or potting soil and give it the right care
Think carefully about whether you wish to place your cutting in water or potting soil. The advantage of water is that you can keep a close eye on how the roots of your cutting develop. But unfortunately, not every green amigo likes to swim. A good example are succulents, which can mould if their cuttings are placed in straight water.
But if you place your cutting in water, make sure that only the bottom part is submerged and place the baby plant in a spot with lots of indirect light. Also make sure to replace the water each week, so that it is fresh.
If the roots of the cutting have grown well in the water, you can then put them in the ground. For most plants, placing 5 to 10 centimetres of their roots in soil is enough. But with larger plants, such as a Strelitzia, it is better to wait until the roots are slightly longer.
Of course, you can also choose to leave your plant in water, as this also gives it a unique look. But keep in mind, that plants will not grow as much if left in water and need the nutrients from the soil to truly thrive.
Tip: you can create your own plant greenhouse using a plastic bag or another cover. This does not have to be completely airtight, as every little bit of moisture is always welcome!
Please keep in mind that this is a basic explanation of propagation. Before you get started, always do research on the type of plant you wish to cut so that you know how to cut it and where it will grow the best. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org | Facebook | Instagram.