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Divide and Multiply

Divide and Multiply

If you think growing houseplants is fun, we challenge you to take plant parenting to the next level and grow some plant babies.  In the horticulture world, “propagation” is the botanical word for this plant making. And, here, at Groovy Plants Ranch, we propagate tens of thousands of plants each year and even breed new varieties. 

Cutting and dividing are two easy propagation techniques. With a little patience, you’ll have more plants to add to your collection or share with friends. Check out these easy steps to propagate eight different houseplants. If you’re doing the math, that means two dozen or more new plants.

#1 Pothos Cuttings

Propagating Pothos are a great place to start. Just cut a few 4” to 6” lengths of stems with four or more leaves. Place the cuttings in a jar of water and wait about a month for roots to develop. Then, pot them up in fresh soil, water thoroughly and treat like new houseplants.  Once you’ve conquered pothos, try propagating Monstera cuttings in water.

#2 Echeveria Succulent Leaves

Echeveria are so easy to multiply. Jared shares one story about how he discovered succulents’ propagation magic when working as a teen at a greenhouse. He was moving succulents around and accidentally knocked a few of their leaves to the ground. A few weeks later, he was surprised to find the abandoned leaves had taken root and were forming wee little plants.  Try propagating your own by gently pulling a few echeveria leaves from the parent plant. Be sure to remove the whole leaf including its base. Lay the leaves on a saucer of soil, and wait a few weeks for new growth to emerge atop the leaves. You’ll see the leaf cuttings will slowly wither, as the new baby plants grow. Once this happens, pot up the mini succulents in fresh potting soil.

#3 Jade Stems

If your jade is due for a “haircut,” save the clippings to make more jade plants. Leave the stem cuttings out to dry and allow their ends to callus. Next, pot the cuttings in fresh soil. In a few weeks, the cuttings will take root and send up new growth.  Check out Jared’s video for more details on trimming a jade plant. 

#4 African Violet Leaf Cuttings

To propagate an African violet, cut a healthy, mature leaf from the parent plant. Dip the stem in rooting hormone to speed root growth. Plant the stem an inch deep in potting soil and firmly press to secure the leaf in place. Cover the pot with a plastic bag and secure it with a rubber band. Place the covered pot in an area that gets at least six hours of bright indirect light. Add a little water to the soil every 3-4 days. If moisture builds up in the bag, remove the bag for a few hours. When shoots appear at the base of the planted leaf, remove the bag and care for the new plant as you would the parent plant.

#5 Pilea Pups

Some plants, like Pileas, multiply by growing plantlets at their base.  Take advantage of these bonus baby plants by gently pulling the pups from the parent plant. Strive to keep the pups’ roots intact with the leaves. Plant the separated pups in pots of fresh potting soil. Water thoroughly. Keep the soil evenly moist –but not overwatered – until the plants become established. Beyond Pilea, also try propagating pups from Aloe, peace lily and arrowhead plants.

#6 Snake Plant Divisions 

Mature snake plants can easily be divided into multiple plants. Start by removing the whole plant from the pot. Hold the plant at the base of the leaves and gently break into clumps, striving to keep roots attached to each leaf clump. Plant clumps in new pots with fresh potting soil. Water thoroughly. Tall sansevieria may need to be staked for a few months until enough roots develop to support the plants.

#7 Spider Plant Spiderettes

Spider plants get their name from the spider-like offshoots, or spiderettes, that dangle from the parent plant like spiders on a web. To propagate spider plants, select well-developed spiderettes with small starter roots. Cut the spiderette from the parent plant and insert its base in fresh, moist potting soil. The spiderettes will establish roots and begin growing in a few weeks.

#8 ZZ Plant

Cut a mature leaf, or a young stem with two or three leaves and insert them into pots of fresh, moist soil. Place the pots in a warm spot with bright light. Keep the soil evenly moist until the leaf or stem grows new shoots. The leaf or stem cutting will produce baby ZZ plants with roots, rhizome, stem and leaves that can be repotted.

Tips for Success

To ensure success, remember to keep the plants evenly watered and in the same light as the parent plants. It may take weeks for them to establish roots and show new growth. Don’t be surprise if a few may fail. It happens to us all, so increase your odds by propagating several. In the end, you’ll find it’s so satisfying to multiply and grow your own family of plants. Happy propagating!  

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