Filling up your home with plants can be an expensive project to take on. I love to browse through nursery’s and gardens to sneak a peek at all their new selections but rarely do I have the ability to throw a bunch of cash down to bring them home with me. An excellent way to double the number of plants you own on a budget is to propagate from plants you already own (or from a friend!).
Propagation is breeding a plant- taking a cutting from the stem or leaf, dividing the plant, or using their offsets. This allows you to use what you’ve already grown to bump up the plant count in your apartment. And luckily, it’s really easy! Let’s take a look at these methods.
Stem Cuttings – During the spring, your parent plant will be growing quickly. Find a stem that has grown recently and hasn’t flowered yet and cut off a 4-6 inch section. To prepare it for planting, remove the lower leaves and fill your new pot with well-draining soil. Make a small hole to plant the stem into, cover with soil, and water. Be sure to give the plant plenty of sun and water to help its growth! Cuttings usually take 6-8 weeks to root into a new pot.
Leaf Cuttings – Find a plant with nice large leaves to propagate through leaf cuttings. Cut a leaf from the parent plant at the base of its stem. Split the leaf into a few even pieces. Plant these pieces with the leaf veins pointing up and down and about half the leaf piece sticking out from the soil. Give the newly planted leaves a good watering before covering with a plastic bag and set in the sun. These cuttings also take between 6-8 weeks to root.
Dividing Plants – I find this method to be the easiest, and works great with plants that have already grown fairly big. Remove the entire parent plant from its pot to take a look at the roots. Taking a look at the plant and roots, find a good segment where you can physically pull the roots apart. Try to keep as many of the roots intact as possible, massage them apart if the roots are having trouble dividing. Once they are apart, they are ready to be potted!
Offsets – This is the smaller growth that comes up around the stem of the plants. To remove an offset, you’ll want to be sure that it is at least one third the size of the full plant you are removing it from. Remove the entire plant from its pot and using a knife cut the offset you’ve chosen to plant. Be careful to not remove any of the roots or cut into the parent plant. Once the offset is removed, the parent plant is ready to be planted back in its pot. Plant the offset by covering only the very bottom of the cutting. These usually root quickest between 3-6 weeks.
Another great way to propagate is to pick up any little plant cuttings, leaves, or pups you find! You can find potential plants in friend’s yards, on the floor of a nursery, or even in the cracks of the sidewalk. Bring them home to give them a chance to grow! It’s also a great way to work out your green thumb without breaking the bank.