The Dirt on Propagating Plants

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

We have mentioned propagating your plants in our previous blog, Connecting with Plants During COVID-19, however, this blog goes more into detail on how to propagate. Plant propagation is the process of using plant cuttings from the ‘mother’ plant to create new plant babies. Propagating plants is an amazing way to get more plants without spending more money and is also a great gift idea or way to share your plants with friends! Propagating plants may seem like a tricky task, but don’t get nervous or intimidated, propagating plants isn’t that hard. This is also a fun activity to do with your children, friends, or other family members. There are three different types of propagation, including using stem cuttings, dividing, and leaf rooting.

Stem cuttings, a.k.a rooting a cutting, is when a small stem that has leaves still attached is placed in water. Leaf rooting is typically done with succulents where you can place leaves in soil. Dividing means you separate an already growing plant into two plants. Some plants can be propagating using more than one method, such as being able to propagate in water and soil.

Rooting in water is the most common method for propagating houseplants, such as Pothos and Monsteras, and is also the easiest method. Read below to learn how to propagate plants using the stem cuttings method.

Material Needed:

1. Plant

2. Scissors or pruners

3. A glass jar, container, or vessel

4. room temperature water


1. Look for a healthy, mature stem or vine from the ‘mother’ plant, then look right below the leaves on the stem for a root node. Snip off a couple of inches of the stem right before the node and include one or two nodes with the stem cutting since the new roots will start from these nodes. Use clean and sharp scissors or pruners and make a clean 45 degree angle cut.

2. Remove any leaves that are too close to the nodes, especially the ones that will end up in the water in your glass.

3. Place your cutting or cuttings in your glass vessel and put it in a spot that receives bright indirect light. Be careful not to place the cutting in strong, direct light or low light.

4. Patience is key here. The process for new root growth can take at least two weeks to start sprouting. Check the cuttings weekly to see the root growth, and when needed, add more room temperature water to the glass.

5. When the roots are grown, you can transplant your cuttings into a planter with a potting soil mix. It is important to let the root grow at least an inch long before transplanting the cuttings into soil. After the transplant, care for the plant the same way you would normally care for the specific type of plant.

6. You can also keep your cutting(s) growing in the water. However, this can cause some issues over time since the water contains no nutrients like soil does, and can cause potential fungal issues or infections. If doing this, make sure to change the water often.

Leaf cuttings, which is the common method to propagate succulents, is done in soil and works great for plants like Pilea, Aloe, Spider plants, and Snakeplants.

Here’s how you propagate houseplants using the leaf cutting method:

1. Cut off a healthy leaf section from your houseplant, and cut the leaf at angles into sections.

2. Dip the bottom end of the leaf cutting in a rooting powder.

3. Place leaf cutting into moist potting soil.

4. Be patient.

Leaf cuttings and stem cuttings are the most common of the three propagation methods. Patience is key and doing your research first if you are unsure which method to use on your plant or what type of care the plant needs.

You may also be interested in our blogs Connecting with Plants During Covid-19 and Unique Ways to Hang Plants!

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