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How to Propagate Indoor Plants

Author

Baileys Fertiliser

Published

20 May 2020

You don't have to spend big to start your indoor jungle or expand your collection. With some basic materials and know-how, you can grow plants for free! There are many ways to grow new houseplants from a "mother" plant: stem cuttings, division of bulbs and side shoots, leaf cuttings, and layering. The process for each is a little different, so here's your complete guide to plant propagation.

What you'll need:

  • Cuttings from friends or plants to take cuttings from (always ask first!)
  • Secateurs or sharp scissors
  • Recycled glass jars or bottles(s)
  • Recycled plastic plant pot(s)
  • Top quality Premium Potting Mix - we recommend Baileys Premium Indoor Potting Mix
  • Marker pen
  • Hormone rooting powder or gel (optional)
  • Hair clips or wire (for method four
Stem Cuttings

One of the easiest methods; try with common indoor varieties such as devil's ivy, philodendrons and hoyas.

  • Cut about 10cm off the end of a stem, making the cut just below a node (the spot where a leaf joins the stem).
  • Remove the bottom leaves and place the stem into a jar of clean water, and pop somewhere bright and warm.
  • Replace the water every few days until you can see roots growing.
  • Transplant the cutting into Baileys Indoor Premium Potting Mix.
  • Voila... how easy is that!

Side Shoots

 Side shoots or "pups" are baby plants that grow from the side of the "mother plant". This is common in succulents, bromeliads, and the Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides).

  • Locate the side shoot or pup at the base of the plant.
  • Gently cut down the side shoot to separate it, avoiding cutting off any little roots.
  • Place the pup into Premium Potting Mix
  • Keep moist but not damp, and a new plant will develop.
  • Keep out of direct light until they start to grow.

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Leaf Blade Cuttings

 Works well with Mother-In-Laws Tongue (Snake plant or Sansevieria trifasciata cv.).

  • Cut off a snake plant leaf as close to the soil as possible
  • Cut the leaf into segments about 10cm long, making a small mark on each bit to indicate the "top".
  • Allow the segments to sit for a couple of days until the ends dry off.
  • Dip the base of the cuttings into rooting hormone powder, if using. See tips below for more detail.
  • Place cuttings about 3cm into Premium Potting Mix.
  • Gently mist or water in and keep moist but not wet.

Leaf Vein Cuttings 

This is a great method for plants with prominent leaf veins, such as Rex begonias, African violets, and peperomia species.

  • Snip a leaf from the main plant and cut off any stem as close to the leaf as possible.
  • Place the leaf face-down so that veins are visible, including the large mid or main vein.
  • Cut leaf into segments, including a section of the main vein in each cutting.
  • Place the cuttings vein-down on the surface of the potting mix, and secure in place with a bobby pin or piece of wire.
  • Once roots have developed, gently transplant cuttings to their own pots.

Plants with Runners or Plantlet

 Plants that send out aerial runners like Spider Plants are easy to propagate.

When age takes its toll on spider plants, they often become straggly and their natural inclination is to produce new foliage and shed the old by forming aerial runners with plantlets. This is a sign to root the plantlets and start over.

  •  Set pots filled with Indoor Premium Potting Mix nearby.
  • Pin plantlets into mix with hairpins.
  • Keep moist.
  • Once plantlets take root, sever stems to the parent plant.

Dividing Bulbs

Bulb plants can be divided in a couple of ways. When a parent bulb produces small bulbs off to its side, simply divide the new bulbs from the old. Plant the new bulbs as you did the parent bulb.

Caladium, cyclamen and tuberous begonia are among the houseplants that produce tubers. Cut the tubers into several pieces, making sure each division has an eye. Dust wounds with Sulphur or a fungicide to prevent rotting and plant out. Each section will produce a new plant.

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Using Rooting Hormone

Many gardeners dip plant cuttings into a rooting hormone to increase the chances - and speed - of them growing new roots. The hormone comes in a number of forms - powder, liquid and a gel.

The liquid form is sold ready-to-use and as a concentrate that needs to be diluted first. The powder has a longer shelf life than liquid and is often cheaper. Gel is convenient but often more expensive; it also comes in different strengths, colour coded by the lid.

Whatever form you choose, always tip a small amount into a separate container and dip the plant stem or leaf into this, to avoid contaminating the whole mix.

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