How To Root Cuttings From Houseplants

Rooting cuttings is an inexpensive way to replace or increase your collection of houseplants. A cutting is a section of a plant removed from a parent plant.

Rooting cuttings is an inexpensive way to replace or increase your collection of houseplants. A cutting is a section of a plant removed from a parent plant. The technical word for this process is propagation. Propagation, simply meaning the process of reproducing plants, sounds much more complex than it actually is. It is fairly easy to learn to root cuttings from houseplants. Regardless of how easy it is to do, the idea of it can be extremely intimidating to individuals new to plant care. A good gardening or plant care book can be borrowed from your local library and may help to relieve some of your fears.

Choose a medium for your cuttings. Vermiculite, perlite mixed with peat moss, and peat pellets can all be used to root cuttings. Construction-grade sand, mixed with peat moss, also makes a suitable rooting medium. Avoid using field soil. Field soil is prone to disease and packs to tightly.

There are several different types of cuttings which can be used, but the most common types of cuttings are those using leaves and stems.



Most houseplants can be rooted using stem cuttings. Always start with a healthy, growing parent plant. Make a stem cutting 4 to 6 inches long, from directly below the joint, using a clean sharp knife. Be very careful not to crush the stem. Next remove any leaves from 1 to 2 inches above the cutting. Removing these leaves makes it easier to plant and reduces water loss. Stick the cutting in your medium of choice. Stick the cut end in about 1 and ½ inches deep. Firm up the medium around the cutting to ensure the stem cutting stays upright. Cover the container, with your cutting in it, with a plastic bag. The plastic bag helps to prevent water loss while simultaneously allowing your cutting to breathe.

Houseplants can also be rooted from leaf cuttings. Rex begonia, African violet, mother-in-law's tongue, and kalanchoe are examples of plants that root well from leaf cuttings. As always, it is important to begin with a healthy, growing plant.

There are 3 ways to make leaf cuttings. The first way is to cut a single leaf and place the cut end in your chosen medium. Cover your cutting with a plastic bag. This type of cutting works well with African Violets.

Another common way to make leaf cuttings is to make cuts in the large veins of a leaf. Next lay the leaf, cuts facing down, on top of your chosen medium and cover the container tightly with a plastic bag. New plants will grow where the vein was cut. This works well with rex begonias and other fibrous begonias.

To root cuttings from mother-in-laws-tongue, cut a healthy leaf into 3 to 4 inch sections. Next stick each section into your chosen rooting medium. Insert the sections about 3 quarters of the way deep. Cover your cutting with a plastic bag. New plants will grow at the bottom of each section.

The amount of time required for your cuttings to form roots varies depending on the type of plants involved. It is usually not necessary, after an initial watering, to water your cuttings again until they are well rooted. When your cuttings have formed roots at least 1 inch long you may transplant them into individual containers.

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