Trailing Houseplant Propagation: Beginner's Guide
Do you have luscious trailing houseplants that you'd like to share with your friends, but are hesitant to start chopping away and propagate? Don't worry, we've all been there. Nurturing plants and then chopping them may seem like a scary step, but following a few tips and tricks, you'll not only keep the plant you've been growing healthy, but have some to share! Pretty soon you'll be a pro at propagation, following these guidelines!
What Plants Are Suitable For Propagation?
Trailing plants like Philodendron, Pothos, Peperomia, and Hoya, are some of the best trailing indoor plants that don't mind being cut and propagated. There are various ways to propagate trailing plants, but the stem-cutting method is the easiest and most popular method.
Rooting In Water or Soil: What Is The Best Method To Propagate?
There are pros and cons to both methods, with the root of the cons being completely dependent on what plant you're snipping.
Rooting in water
Water rooting is the easiest method as you just need to put the freshly cut stem of the plant in a glass vase. Within 2 to 3 weeks, the plant will start rooting, and you can now move the plant to a pot of soil.
Tips For Propagation In Water:
- Assure your pruners are sterilized with rubbing alcohol before snipping to prevent transferring disease from plant to plant
- Use pure, clean water, preferable bottle water. Avoid tap water as it may contain chlorine and fluoride which will hinder root growth
- Use a clear vase to assist in watching the development the root growth (we have some awesome propagation stations here)
- Keep the cutting in a bright lit area, but away from direct sunlight so the leaves can still photosynthesize
Rooting in Soil
Soil rooting is slightly be tricky as you will not be able to see the roots develop underground. However, the advantage of rooting in soil is that it saves the cuttings from the sudden transition of putting them in water and then soil.
Tips For Propagating In Soil
- Use only very lightweight soil specifically formulated for cuttings or seed-starting, rich in perlite, peat, and vermiculite
- Keep your soil damp but never wet, as damp soil will lead to dampening off of brand new root growth
- Keep your soil in a bright area, but not hot, as the soil can unevenly dry
- Do not compact the soil tightly after adding your cutting, the roots will need a loose soil to grow into
How do you cut a propagation stem?
First, find the right place or portion of the stem to cut. Cut a portion with at least 1-2 nodes and some leaves because nodes are where the new roots will grow from. Never remove more than 25% of the overall foliage of the plant, to allow the plant ample foliage to recover with.
Choose the trailing stem with nodes and use sanitized trimmers to cut the stem from just below the node. 4 to 6 inches long cutting would be sufficient. Once you have your cutting, carefully put the cutting into water or in potting soil.
If rooting in the soil, ensure filling fresh soil into the pot. Make a planting hole with a finger or other object and place the cutting. Also, make sure to use a pot with a drainage hole so that the excess water can escape preventing the cutting from rotting or decaying due to being too wet.
Have Patience And Track The Development
It is essential to be patient during your propagation journey! Depending on the plant, it may take 3 to 4 weeks or more to produce new roots. If rooting in water, regularly change the water and check any signs of decay. You can add a little bit of fertilizer to the water to stimulate growth. Don’t wait long to transplant the cutting into soil pot as it can increase the risk of fungal infections. As soon as you see 1 to 2 inches of growth in the cutting, it is time to transplant it.
If you are looking to buy hanging and trailing plants or any other plant collections, visit ED’s Plant Shop.