Taking a snip of your pothos and popping it in a glass of water to grow roots is nothing new. I discovered this amazing ability that plants possess while in the second grade; I took a sprig of thyme from the school garden, put it in a glass jar on the window, and watched it grow roots over the following weeks. It was my own science experiment (and looking back, a strong indicator that I would grow up to be a crazy plant lady).
As a bonafide plant mama, I’m always looking for ways to extend my plant family. Taking cuttings from my plants is a great way to do this: it generally helps the “mother” plant by stimulating new growth, and the cuttings themselves can be grown into another individual plant. Growing plants from cuttings is also a great way to gift plants to friends without having to buy more (because let’s be honest, I need to stay away from the temptation of a well stocked nursery).
HOW TO MAKE FREE PLANTS
This method of growing plants from cutting works for most houseplants; experiment and have fun! Just because one cutting didn’t grow well doesn’t mean the next one won’t. Be patient and remember that you can always take another cutting when the mother plant is in need of a “haircut”.
- Decide where to snip : many houseplants have nodes, a part of the plant from which leaves emerge. When taking cuttings, it’s a good idea to snip right below the 2nd or 3rd node down from the top. The last leaf may go into shock and die off, so this gives your cutting a healthy chance at recovering and growing new roots.
- Carefully cut : use a sharp, clean pair of scissor or a small knife to cut just below the node.
- Pop your cutting in some water : put your cutting in a cup or jar and cover the nodes with water. I haven’t found any difference in results with tap vs filtered water, use what you have and experiment. I prefer using glass jars, and I’m known to reuse old dressing bottles + pasta sauce jars.
- Dirty water : plants sitting in stagnant water isn’t exactly the healthiest thing for it, so switch out the water every few days or at least once a week.
- Bright, but not too bright : keep them in a bright spot but not in direct sunlight, which could damage your tender plants.
- Patience is key : you may see roots in a few days but usually it takes a few weeks. Keep an eye out for mushy stems, which could lead to unwanted bacterial growth.
- Unwanted visitors : if you live in a warm climate like I do, keep an eye out for mosquito larvae. Mothers lay their eggs in standing water and I’ve found a number of wriggling aquatic larvae in my root cutting water. Usually I just dump them outside and refill them with fresh water.
- Plant it up : once the roots look substantial, it’s time to pot them up in their new homes. I usually wait until there are at least 3+ strong stems that are several inches long. I’ve been known to wait a little too long when it comes to planting them; some grow out fine but some go into shock and don’t make it. Again, it’s all about experimenting and having fun!
- Snip, root, plant, repeat!
It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but here’s some plants that I’ve had great luck with growing from cuttings:
- monstera deliciosa
- monstera obliqua
- prayer plant
- spider plant
- heart leaf philodendron
- fiddle leaf fig
- christmas cactus
- heart leaf hoya
- arrowhead plant
What are your favorite plants to take cuttings from? Any successes or mishaps? I’d love to know!