Who isn't guilty of creating a congregation of glass gherkin jars that slowly overrun the kitchen bench because you couldn't throw precious houseplant tendrils into the bin from the last pruning session? It's okay, we have too, but with these handy tips and some propagation stations your cuttings will be established plants in no time.
Steps to Success
1. Fill your vessels with tepid, filtered water.
2. Select your plant material with at least two to six nodes depending on the plant type.
3. Using sharp snips, make the cutting at a 45° angle just below a leaf node.
4. When creating multiple cuttings from the same plant, ensure these are uniform in height to make potting on easier.
5. Ensure no leaves are submerged in water.
6. Change water every five days.
7. Bright to medium indirect lighting is best.
Words of Wisdom
Hydration – Never take cuttings from a thirsty specimen, they will produce thin, small leaves.
Variegation – Is a cell mutation within a plant that creates different coloured areas on the leaves. Variegation is primarily genetic, which means the plant should keep its pattern when forming new leaves from your cutting. However, don't be disappointed if it reverts to green; this can occur in cuttings as the plant is in survival mode attempting to produce roots. Restart with a new cutting if this happens.
Patience – Some plants will develop roots within a week, while others will take months. You will find hardwood houseplants types such as Ficus robusta and Ficus lyrata will take longer to root.
Cleanliness – Never allow the water to become murky in a cutting vessel.
Quality – Our growers always say, 'If you take a cutting from a poor plant, you will get a poor result'. Always inspect the plant you are taking the material from. Ensure it's free of pests and disease and the overall health is top-notch.
When your propagation vessels are swimming with roots, you know it's time to pot on.
1. Although it may be tempting, you cannot plant the cutting into its 'forever pot'. A 9cm pot is the starting point, only repot when the roots have filled this pot.
2. Don't be fooled; when planting into a larger pot, you slow down the growth rate and have a higher risk of overwatering.
3. Rooting hormone is not required; it can cause shock to the water roots.
4. Select a soft soil to suit the plant type, this helps ease the cutting into its unfamiliar environment. Options are 50:50 potting mix combined with coir/fern fibre or 50:50 cacti mix and coir/fern fibre for plants that prefer free drainage.
5. Plant two or three stems into the same pot to create a dense plant (except for hardwood plants that you would plant singly). Only submerge the stems into the pot and never cover the leaves of the cutting; this can cause rotting.
6. Water before the soil completely dries out. Depending on the plant type, you will see leaf growth in 2–4 weeks. Within 2–3 months, you will be able to transplant into a 10cm–12cm pot using a quality houseplant potting mix.