Propagation: Sharing the Plant Love

It’s no secret that growing plants indoors is the key to keeping a gardener happy throughout Iowa’s harsh winters. But when those plants begin growing too well—or too fast—it’s nice to trim the excess and share a plant start with a friend, family member or coworker.

Unfortunately, understanding where to begin or the right place to cut your plant can be tricky. Here are Botanical Garden Production Horticulturist Kim James’ top tips for effectively cutting and sharing your houseplants.

  1. Plant selection is key. Be sure to select a plant that is free from pests and disease and appears healthy overall.
  2. Water the plant thoroughly the night before taking the cuttings. This way, the stems and leaves will be turgid (full of water) at the time of cutting and will have the best chance of thriving.
  3. Cut from the top, as tip cuttings are easiest for most plants. Depending on the total size, it is generally safe to take from the top two to four inches of the plant.
  4. Cut just below a node (the place where the leaves come out). An ideal cutting will have at least two nodes, with three to four being preferred.
  5. After cutting, remove the leaves from the lowest nodes. If available, dip the cutting into a rooting hormone and then tap off the excess.
  6. Place cutting into a porous, moistened media. A light potting soil or course perlite typically work well.
  7. Establish roots in a warm, humid area (65-75°F) with plenty of indirect light.

Looking for more gardening tips? Check out our pruning and succulent care blog posts.