Above: Kendall in her Portland home with all her amazing houseplants
Happy Friday, friends!
Kendall here with another edition of Am I Doing This Right?! – a series that tackles an adulting topic (you know, one that seems straight forward, but upon further inspection, actually isn’t?) and breaks it down while sharing tips on how to do it *correctly.*
Today, I’ve got an extra fun post for you to kick off your weekend. I usually scour through research and consult the experts for these types of posts, but today I feel qualified enough to draw on my own plant-loving experience. Today, we’re talking about how to propagate your houseplants and why now is the perfect time to do so!
If you missed it, I talk about my obsession with plants in this post– I have 60+ houseplants and counting (many of which are successful propagation stories!) and 90% of them even survived a cross-country move earlier this year (I could write a whole other blog post on this hilarious experience 😉) Needless to say, I love plants — caring for them, decorating with them, looking at them, and yes, propagating them!
Not sure what I’m talking about? Plant propagation is the creation of new plants from root cuttings of a parent plant. Essentially, you can multiply your favorite houseplant by simply using scissors, water and patience 😉
Have I piqued your interest yet? Let’s dive in!
Why you should propagate your houseplants now + how to do so!
The benefits of propagating:
It’s a virtually free way to expand your houseplant collection
Propagating is the most budget-friendly way to grow your houseplant family. Depending on the type of plants you’re purchasing, you know those costs can really add up! Smaller plants that have been recently propagated can also make great, unique hostess gifts!
It’s extremely simple
You already have everything you need to propagate — scissors, a vessel of water and a pot/container — it’s that simple.
It extends your favorite plant’s life
I liken propagating to an insurance policy on your favorite houseplants! Once, my monstera plant was looking questionable so I propagated a portion of it *just in case* it didn’t make it. Luckily, it was just fine and now I have two monsteras, but it was nice to know I had a backup plan if things went south!
It can be meditative
If you have houseplants, chances are you find something about taking care of them to be meditative or relaxing. Propagation only enhances this feeling! From trimming a gangly or overgrown plant, to watching roots take form and creating an entirely new plant, it’s very soothing to take care of something.
Why now is a good time to propagate your houseplants
This summer is a great time to get to propagating for two reasons:
It’s growing season
Spring and summer are considered the growing season- meaning your houseplants are creating more leaves and growing taller at a much faster rate than they do in the fall and winter. While you can propagate at any point in the year, doing so now will maximize your efforts, because your propagated plants will take off much quicker.
You’re spending more time at home
And of course, you’re probably spending much more time at home than you normally would this summer, so why not try propagating? While it doesn’t take much effort at all, you won’t have to worry about missing your planting window if you’re staying close to home and you can fully enjoy the process!
Plants that can be propagated
SO MANY plants can be propagated! Some can be done more easily than others and there are actually a few different types of propagation — cuttings, layering, division, budding and grafting.
Today, we’re going to focus on propagating cuttings, because it’s very easy and many popular houseplants are propagated this way, including:
- Pothos (all types!)
- Prayer Plant
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Ivy (all types!)
- Rubber Plant
- Jade Plant
How to propagate with stem cuttings
I especially love propagating pothos because 1) they’re affordable, 2) they’re extremely easy to keep alive, 3) they grow fast in bright light but can survive just fine in low light and 4) they’re incredibly versatile- they look good in a hanging basket, on a shelf, on a table, the list goes on!
There are two ways to propagate stem cuttings: a cutting straight to soil or a cutting into water before going into soil. I have had the most success with the latter. Here’s how to do it using the pothos as an example:
^ I propagated a long-hanging pothos plant last month to create a “jungle-esque plant wall.” It still has a ways to go, but I hope it will just take over this wall!
Step 1: Make the cut
Grab your scissors and inspect the ends of your pothos plant. An ideal cut will have several inches of healthy stem with a few nodes (tiny bumps where new roots will come from). Pro tip: I like to cut mine relatively small so that if a cutting doesn’t take, not too much plant is wasted.
Step 2: Remove excess leaves
Remove any leaves toward the top of the plant (the end you just cut that will be placed in water). If you find leaves are submerged in water, it’s best to remove them.
Step 3: Place in water
Place cuttings in a clear vase or glass filled with fresh water. Make sure the fresh cut is placed in the water and not the ends of the plant. Pro tip: this can be confusing to determine if you don’t place immediately in water!
Step 4: Wait for root growth
Place the glass of cuttings in a spot that gets moderate indirect sunlight (you don’t want to fry propagating cuttings or place in a dark closet, etc.!) and replace or freshen the water as needed. Every week, keep an eye on root growth.
Step 5: Time to transfer!
Once roots are measuring about an inch long, it’s time to pot! (This takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks for pothos plants). Gently plant the cuttings in fresh soil, water the pot, and place in indirect sunlight until you see new growth. Then, feel free to place the pot in a more permanent home if needed.
And that’s it! Before you know it, your houseplant game will multiply with no added cost (minus the price of a pot). If you’re feeling extra zealous, add plant fertilizer to your new propagated pots to maximize growth. I use this kind!