How To Grow New Plants From Stem and Leaf Cuttings, Pups, or Division
Propagation is a simple process that grows new plants from existing plants. New roots will grow by cutting at a leaf, stem or pup, and placing it in water or a soil medium. Some plants can’t be propagated this way and should instead be removed from the pot and separated at the roots. Propagation is easiest during the warm months of Spring and Summer, resulting in multiplied greenery in your space and a lineage of plants to share with loved ones. You can also save what healthy parts remain of a dying plant, using an appropriate method of propagation to salvage it. We’ll walk you through what methods should be used for which plants below, step-by-step.
- Clean scissors or shears
- A clear jar or cup. Repurposed salsa, pickle, and pasta sauce jars are great for propagating as well as plastic water bottles cut in half.
- Water: Tap water that has been left out overnight, Filtered, Spring or Rainwater
- Plant of your choice
- Rooting Hormone (optional, but speeds up the rooting process)
Tip: Sprinkling cinnamon on the cut stem attached to the parent plant will act as a natural anti-fungicide, preventing possible infection on the exposed piece.
Propagating by Stem Cuttings
The following plants are some that can be propagated via stem cuttings:
- Dracaena Marginata
- Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Golden Pothos
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Philodendron Brasil
- Red Maranta
- Swiss Cheese Plant
- ZZ Plant
How to Select Stem Cuttings:
Plants that grow multiple leaves on an individual stem can often be propagated with a stem cutting. The Pothos, Fiddle Leaf, and ZZ are great examples of plants that can reproduce using well-selected stem(s). A suitable stem for cutting should be well-developed and healthy, at least 4+ inches long, with at least 2 healthy leaves.
Stems that grow leaf nodes (small brown bumps that the new roots will grow from) should be cut just below a node, with multiple nodes on one cutting. Like those seen on Monsteras and Philodendrons, stems that grow aerial roots are also good selections for propagation.
- Once you’ve selected and cut your healthy stem(s), remove any lower leaves as no leaves should remain wet or submerged in water.
- Allow 1+ hours for the cut to dry and callous over.
- Place cuttings into a clear cup or jar and fill with room temperature water.
- Place in bright, indirect light in warm temperatures above 65° and refill with clean water every few days.
- When the new roots are over 2” in length, your propagated stems can be potted in proper soil and pot.
Propagating by Leaf Cuttings
- Sansevierias leaves can be cut into multiple sections or used as one single leaf. Jade plants can propagate using one single leaf cutting or a stem with multiple leaves.
- Allow 1+ hours for the cut to dry and callous over.
- a. Lay Jade Plant cuttings flat onto a moist cacti-soil mixture of 50% soil, 25% Sand, and 25% perlite. The cut should be tucked just under the soil mixture. New roots will continue to grow into the pot.
- Place all Sansevieria section cuttings upright in a clear cup or jar with room temperature, filtered, spring, or rainwater. They should be slightly raised above the bottom of your jar to allow roots to grow out. You can keep the leaf suspended by cutting a small triangle shape from the bottom of the leaf and using paper clips or bobby pins to suspend it on the cup’s brim.
- Place in bright, indirect light in warm temperatures above 65° and refill with clean water every few days. Keep the soil with Jade cuttings slightly moist.
- When new roots are over 2” in length, the leaf can be potted in appropriate soil and pot.
Propagating with Pups
Some plants that grow just one single stem, like the Ponytail Palm and Golden Barrel Cactus, will produce small, new plants, “pups”, on the stem or nearby in the pot. Since cutting at the stem would injure these kinds of plants, they can only be propagated by removing and repotting the new pup(s) once they’ve sprouted.
- Carefully cut the pup away with a clean knife or shears. Leave it out for at least 1 hour to allow the cut to dry and callous over.
- Pot directly into a moist cacti-soil mixture of 50% soil, 25% sand, and 25% perlite.
- Place in bright, indirect light in warm temperatures above 65°.
- Over the next few weeks, roots will develop and continue to grow into the pot. Exercise the same caution in overwatering that you would with their parent plants.
Propagating by Division
The following plants are some that are best propagated by division:
- Birds of Paradise
- Peace Lily
- Prayer Plants (Calathea Medallion, Lemon Lime, Rattlesnake, Red Maranta, Stromanthe Triostar)
Any plant can be propagated by division! However, the ones listed above are some specific plants that are best multiplied by separating them at the roots and transplanting each division into their own pots. Plants can be divided into two and sometimes more divisions, depending on their root system and development.
- Carefully remove the entire plant from its pot and loosen the soil around the root ball. Plants with bulbs, such as __, may need a clean knife.
- Decide which stems/leaves you’d like to keep for each division.
- Using your hands, separate sections at the roots. Be gentle, though roots can withstand handling and even some injury.
- Place each plant division into a pot at the same depth as its old pot.
- Water and let the plant rest! It may experience some shock.
Follow Up Care After Propagation:
- Keeping propagations above 65° encourages root development.
- After potting propagations, new plants should be given standard care that their parent plants receive. Be mindful of location, pot size, etc. when starting its care routine. Keep in mind that it’s normal for the plant to experience some shock after being repotted, and care should be adjusted as needed.
- After potting your rooted cuttings, pups, or divisions, give the plant 6+ weeks to settle into its new home before fertilizing.
- Sometimes, propagating is a process of trial and error, and some cuttings take longer to root than others. For example, Pothos cuttings may show new roots within the first few weeks while ZZ cuttings may have months. If the cutting turns dark or mushy in water, it has rotted and should be discarded.
- If you have additional questions on propagation or repotting, we offer our customers complimentary Office Hours. Schedule a personal consultation here.