skip to Main Content

How To Propagate Plants

Stem Propagation With Secateurs

*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links. Please see disclosure to learn more. 

Propagating plants can be surprisingly easy and lots of fun as well, not to mention the money you can save when greening your home this way.

As there are many ways to propagate a plant, depending on the type of plant involved, the first thing you have to do is select the best propagation method to suit your plant.

Which Propagation Method Should You Use?

There are 7 main methods of plant propagation which are covered in detail for you in this article, but first, here’s a quick guide to help you select the best method for your plant.

1.  The Stem Cutting Method: is best for most soft stemmed plants. You can try it for woodier stemmed plants, but it may take longer for roots to occur.

 Examples: Crotons, Flaming Katy, Plumeria, Philodendrons.


2. The Leaf Cutting Method: Different plants require different leaf cutting methods, the most popular plant for leaf cutting being the Begonia.

Other Examples Include : Mother in Law Tongue and succulents such as Kalanchoe and Evaeveria


3. The Division Method: is best used on plants with fibrous root systems that develop new shoots next to the parent plant.

 Examples: Prayer Plants, Peace Lily, ZZ plants, Maidenhair  Fern.


4. The Offset Method: is for plants which produce baby offsets “pups”.

 Examples: Bromeliads, Spider Plants,


5. The Water Method: will be effective for most indoor plants although, as per the stem cutting method, woodier stemmed plants may take longer to root.

Examples: Devil’s Ivy, Dracaena Marginata.


6. The Seed Method: Mainly used for growing annual plants however perennials can also be grown from seed, but may take longer to mature.

Examples: Bird of Paradise, Parlor Palm (usually for experts)


7. The Air Layering Method: Air layering is an interesting method of propagating plants

that don’t easily form roots from cuttings. This method of propagation involves rooting stems

that are still attached to the plant. 

Examples:Philodendrons, Rhododendrons, Rubber Plants, Swiss Cheese Plants 


1. Propagating From Stem Cuttings

This is one of the easiest ways to create new plants from mature ones with soft, healthy young stems.

It’s best to take your cuttings in spring or early summer when the plant is growing more quickly.

Take stems that are younger and more pliable, as opposed to older woodier stems as this with help quicken the formation of roots.For many plants, it can take around 6-8 weeks to produced rooted cuttings.

Stem Propagation With secateurs

A. In spring or early summer, select a non-flowering stem from a healthy plant. Using

a sharp secateurs, cut off a 4-6 inch (10-15cm) section from the tip, just below a leaf 


Stem Cutting

Remove any lower leaves near the bottom of the stem. You should take two or three

stems from the host plant this way, so long as you leave plenty of stems remaining.

Propagating stem with rooting hormone

C Dip the end of each cutting into hormone rooting powder or liquid. Powder is the

easiest and safest alternative, especially for beginners. This is an optional step as most

stems should produce roots without hormone rooting powder, it may just take them 


Propagating stem in pot with cutting compost

Fill a small plastic pot with potting compost for cuttings. Add your cutting to the 

pot and gently but firmly pack the potting compost around it.

Stem Propagation Watering

If you are dealing with smaller plants, you can place two or three cuttings in the one      

pot. Once the cutting (or cuttings) are in their new home, settle them in by watering

with a watering can, or if you don’t have one, an ordinary cup will do.

          Stem Propagation-Using Plastic Bag

Cover the pot with a plastic bag secured with a rubber band. Keep the potting compost   

moist but not wet. Roots should develop after about 6-8 weeks. When new  shoots appear,             

transplant the cuttings into small pots of multipurpose potting mix. Set the new plant in a 

bright spot out of direct sunlight to continue growing.

Christine Mattner

What started out as purely a desire to keep my indoor plants alive has turned into a full-blown passion for sharing what I have learned over the years about selecting, growing and caring for indoor plants with those who may be new to the wonderful world of houseplants.

Back To Top