Water Propagation Guide
So you want to try your hand at growing plant babies in water? In this article I’ll go over everything you need to get started! As some of you may already know, growing plants is water is super easy, and there are many house plants that are well suited to do so with. Even though it is often said that the best time of year to grow plant babies is in spring or summer, they’ll still grow beautifully in fall and winter (just a bit slower). I personally love to propagate all year round! 🙂
What you’ll need:
- A plant
- Scissors or pruning shears
- Spray alcohol, or alcohol wipes (optional)
- A glass vessel filled with tepid water
Step 1 (where to cut)
To propagate new plant babies from most houseplants, you’re going to want to take tip cuttings. First, cut 4 to 6 inches from the tip of a main stem. Take a cutting from a healthy part of the plant, and ideally newer growth. Cut just below a node (where the leaf and stem meet). In my example I’m using my Neon Pothos, in the picture I have circled the root nodes. These tiny brown bumps are the key to propagating this Pothos and many other types of houseplants. You’ll need these nodes as this is where the roots will come from.
Step 2 (cutting prep)
Remove the lower leaves close to the node, especially any that might end up under water when you put your cutting into your glass vessel. Now this part is optional, you can either dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder, or just place them in water as is. Just always make sure to keep any leaves above water.
Step 3 (Placement)
Place the plant cutting in your glass vessel and move it to a spot that receives bright indirect light. Don’t place your cuttings in strong, direct light or super-low light.
Step 4 (Be patient)
Now, the hard part.. It’s time to be patient. You can check on root growth by looking at the nodes on a weekly basis. Add fresh, tepid room temperature water every 3-5 days. There are some plants that root fast and others that root slow, so this process can take weeks to even months. Once your roots reach approximately 5″ then it’s time to put the cutting in soil! yay!
Step 5 (Enjoy your new baby)
Once the cutting is potted in fresh potting mix, give your new plant a nice drink of water and place it in a location with bright indirect light.
- It’s always good practice to disinfect your scissors or shears before cutting into your plant, I use 70% alcohol spray to do this.
- It’s also a good idea to research the plant you want to propagate before starting. Not all plants can be water propagated.
- Always take cuttings from healthy parts of the mother plant, and ideally newer growth.
- Remove any leaves that will sit in the water, as these will rot.
- Taking multiple cuttings at once will increase your success rates as not every cutting will take.
- You can use tap water, filtered water or rain water. I’ve had equal success with each.
- Place your cuttings in a spot that receives bright indirect light.
- Rooting hormone powder mixed into the water can speed up the root growth. (Optional)
- When changing your plants water you can add a few drops of fertilizer, this gives them the nutrients they need and don’t get from water. (Optional)
- Try not to leave your cuttings in water for too long after they are ready to be potted up, your chances of successful soil transplantation decrease as the roots become used to being in water. It also increases the chances of your new plant baby going into shock if placed in soil after a long time in water.
- Plants can be propagated all year round, but spring and summer are ideal. The active growing season gives your new plant baby the best chance to grow strong and healthy roots.
Best plants to propagate for beginners: From my experience.
- Spider plant/Chlorophytum
- Pothos/Epipremnum aureum
- English ivy/Hedera helix
- Wandering jew/Tradescantia
- Arrow head vine/Syngonium
- Chain of Hearts/Ceropegia woodii
- String of Pearls/Senecio rowleyanus
- ZZ Plant/Zamioculcas
- Prayer plant/Maranta
- Snake Plant/Sansevieria trifasciata
- Peperomia plants
- Some Succulents
So that’s it plant friends! That’s my guide for water propagation. I know there are many many more plants that can be water propagated but I’ve only listed the ones I have tried and found to be fairly easy. I hope you all enjoyed reading this, now go make some more plant babies 🙂