Propagating plants is the practice of growing new plants from old plants. The art of propagating plants is awesome for a whole bunch of reasons, from creating new life to making cool botanical gifts for people.
Related article: The best plants for your home
Propagating can be accomplished with a variety of techniques. However, to be effective and simple, two methods are frequently used at home: sexual propagation and asexual propagation.
What kinds of propagation are there?
Sexual propagation is to reproduce your plants by collecting and sowing seeds. When plants are mature, they will produce pollen that impregnates another plant and encourages the plant to produce seeds. This is the most frequently used method when multiplying your plants, owing to its simplicity.
When to use sexual propagation?
Use sexual propagation between the same variety of plants to create seed stocks or crossbreed different varieties to produce hybrid plants.
Asexual propagation is the process of propagating new plants from branches, leaves, roots or stems from the parent plant. This technique involves using the regenerative nature of plants to create a genetically identical copy of the parent plant.
When to use asexual propagation?
Asexual propagation is useful when you need plants to remain genetically identical to their parents, or when you wish to produce a large number of crops in a short amount of time.
Who is propagating plants for?
The art of propagating plants is useful for a whole range of people, including:
- The humble plant owner who just wants a few more of their beloved plants
- Plant nuseries that want to increase their stock
- Landscapers that want tocan create new displays with propagated plants
What are the best plants to propagate at home?
The best plants to propagate are the easiest, the coolest and the most popular and common. However, there are many plants that can be propagated. In this article we will look at 5 favourites:
- Snake plant
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Air plant
- Zanzibar gem
- Aloe vera
1. Snake plants
The six-inch-to-eight-foot-tall Snake plant, which is a member of the Asparagaceae family, has stiff, sword-like leaves. Snake plants come in a wide range of colors, but the most common are yellow-bordered leaves with green bands.
Having Snake plants in public areas like office buildings, hospitals, schools, and factories can help to purify the air, disinfect, and reduce the symptoms of respiratory and other illnesses. Many carcinogens, such as formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and nitrogen, can be absorbed by Snake plants, according to NASA’s research.
So they are one hell of a plan to propagate, and make fantastic gifts when you don’t have much time to plan a present!
How to propagate a Snake plant
Let’s examine how to do Snake plant propagation and weigh the pros and cons of three different methods: leaf cuttings in water, leaf cuttings in soil, and rhizome division.
A. Leaf-cuttings in water.
Step 1: Select a healthy Snake plant leaf and cut it close to the plant’s base with a sharp knife.
Step 2: Cut an upside-down V shape out of the bottom of the leaf. Then soak the leaf in a clean jar full of water. The water level should be slightly higher than the V cut. This V technique allows roots to grow on most of the surface exposed by the V.
New roots will appear from the leaf cuttings’ bottoms in 3 to 5 weeks. Plant babies will begin to grow in another 2 to 3 weeks. The cuttings can be planted in soil or left in the water to continue growing.
Pros & Cons
It’s simple to do and a lot of fun to see new root growth from the cuttings. Though this method is not recommended if you have a variegrated Snake plant like “Moonshine” with dark margins, or “Laurentii” with yellow stripes, because they will lose their stripes and revert back to regular old green leaves when propagated from leaf cuttings.
B. Leaf-cutting in soil
Step 1: Cut off a healthy stem close to the plant’s base. Allow 1-2 days for the cut surface to dry and heal.
Step2: Put the cuttings in a pot of potting soil. Because they are prone to rot, Snake plants prefer well-draining soil. Remember to use soilless potting mix for a better result.
The soil should be kept at a constant temperature. Soggy soil can cause cuttings to rot. Give your Snake plant a good watering after 1-2 weeks. These stem cuttings will root and produce pups, which will grow into new plants but take a bit longer than water-cuttings.
Pros & Cons
It takes only one step in this process to make a fresh batch of Snake plants right away by putting several cuttings in a pot. However, just like propagating plants in water, the color won’t be identical.
C. Rhizome division
Rhizomes are white root-like stem structures that connect the parent plant to its new growth. The rhizome spreads just above or below the ground and sprouts new plants.
Step 1: Remove the rhizome from the parent plant using a clean, sharp knife. Ideally, let the rhizome sit for a few days before planting it to make sure the roots get harder and stronger.
Step 2: Fill planters with potting mix and place your plants in them. The special combination of ingredients ensures the mixture retains moisture. It is not compacted, which means it has enough space for your soft new roots to grow.
Bright indirect light or a little shade are ideal. Try to keep the soil evenly moist but not too wet. Root growth will suffer if there is too much water. Focus on the soil surface and surrounding soil only. Avoid directly watering the leaves or entire baby plants.
Pros & Cons
This technique is applied if you want your snake plant to look exactly like the parent plant, especially if it has colorful edges. However, you’ll need a large plant to divide it easily and keep your original plant healthy.
2. Fiddle leaf fig
The fiddle leaf fig is a deciduous tree that grows to a height of approximately 1.5-3 meters. Its foliage is a deep, dark green leaf that can grow up to 38 cm in size. Those leaves are extremely strong and rarely break off. The plant is a tropical-climate kind that thrives in humid conditions. You can create a fresh, clean and beautiful environment using the fiddle leaf fig.
Scientists believe that this plant is extremely beneficial to human health in all respects. Furthermore, because of its slow growth and low stem height, people enjoy having this little guy in their homes or offices to help them create greener spaces.
How to propagate the Fiddle leaf fig
Stem-cuttings and air-layerings are the two popular methods in terms of propagating. Both take the same amount of time to root (about 20-30 days). Different methods will have different benefits and drawbacks.
Step 1: You will need a container containing purified, chlorine-free water. Allow ordinary tap water to sit overnight to evaporate the chlorine, or use distilled water. Ascertain that the container is of sufficient size and shape to support and maintain the upright position of your cut.
Step 2: Cut a stem shorter than 6 cm with three or four leaves (no more than that or it will require too much nutrition). This will give your new plant a short stem and enough leaves to sustain it. Make sure to get those from one of your healthiest plants.
You don’t have to worry about them growing back after you cut them off; they’re resilient. Don’t forget to use a clean, sharp tool and submerge the plant right away in the water after cutting it.
Cuttings usually take 2-3 weeks to develop roots. Give them another week to grow before you plant again. Make sure to put your new plants in moist soil after a month. During the first two months of growth, don’t forget to evenly moisten the growing medium to allow new roots to take hold. Start fertilizing your fiddle leaf fig regularly after three months.
Pros & Cons
They can be propagated in large numbers but the survival rate is directly proportional to the cutting size. Because of the large leaves, it’s difficult to keep the cuttings moist during the growing process.
3. Air plants
Air plants are members of the Bromeliaceae family. They are mostly found in the mountains of Central and South America. The air plant grows to a height of 80cm-2m, upside down rather than straight up like most plants. It can also survive in soilless environments and absorb nutrients from the air or early morning dew with its small and long leaves.
Air plants purify the air by removing harmful substances. Their leaves can absorb dust and toxins that pollute the environment. According to scientific research, 1kg of air plants contains about 0.2mg of Metabolizzandoli. This converts toxic substances in the air into nutrients needed for plant growth. Furthermore, the plant can eliminate carcinogens like Florence and Benzopyrene. As a result, indoor houseplants like air plants are one of the essential elements to help keep your home green, fresh, and cool.
How to propagate the Air plant
To do Air plant propagating, you can use the simple method of bud separation. The best time to carry this out is when the flower starts to bloom. Young shoots and branches begin to develop at the leaf axils on the stem.
A. Offsets or Pups
Step 1: Offsets, often called pups, are produced by mature air plants. Look for at base of your plants to see if any new offsets have sprouted from the original plant.
Step 2: Simply twist the pups apart with your hands to separate them. Wait until the offset is a third of the actual plant’s size, pinch and twist it counterclockwise, then gently pull it away from the parent plants. Place the separated pups on suitable surfaces/containers and tend to them like any other air plant.
You must commit greater attention to seedling care in the first couple of months. Soak the air plant babies for approximately 20 minutes in water after 2-3 weeks.
Pro & Cons
It does not take too much time and effort to use this method, but you must be careful. Avoid removing the pup too quickly, or you could damage the plant.
Step 1: Look for cotton wisps on the tips of an air plant that is currently blooming and put them in a small bowl or container.
Step 2: Fill the bowl or container with water and soak the seeds in it. Observe the seed’s growth over the next few weeks. When the seeds begin to germinate, they will look like rice grains. Place the seeds in any area without covering them.
Step 3: Spread your seeds out on a cheesecloth under indirect light/sunlight.
Make sure to mist your top growth at least once a week with a sprayer. To avoid overwatering your Air plant, submerge and soak new plants for about 20 minutes, then hang them upside-down. Keep in mind that you should only water your air plants in a place where the water can drain easily.
Pros & Cons
Germinating the seeds necessitates less technical skills but more time and effort. Your air plants will start to wither and curl in on themselves if they don’t get enough water. You need to pay serious attention during the nursery process to avoid a failed propagation.
4. Zanzibar gem
Zanzibar Gem has large rows of short oval leaves and sports dark green foliage that is glossy and very attractive. A Zanzibar plant typically has a lifespan of 2 to 3 years. During that time, the Zanzibar Gem will outgrow numerous branches and seedlings if properly cared for. If you are lucky, the Zanzibar plant usually blooms white flower buds from autumn to early winter.
However, these are more commonly used as indoor plants, where natural light is limited, flowers are rarely seen. So many people believe seeing this plant bloom is a sign of extreme luck.
Direct sunlight will burn your Zanzibar, so make sure it’s in a shaded spot or only gets filtered light. Because of its low light requirements, this is an excellent houseplant for a windowless office or bathroom.
How to propage the Zanzibar gem
The Zanzibar Gem can be propagated in a variety of ways. Stem-cuttings, leaf-cuttings, and divisions are the top 3 most popular techniques. Some people also use seeds and bulbs, but these are less common.
A. Stem cuttings
Zanzibar plants can be propagated from a single large stem cutting. It should work fine as long as each section is at least two inches long and has a couple of healthy leaves.
Step 1: Prepare a fresh Zanzibar branch or take advantage of old branches. Cutting the stem diagonally increases the contact surface and helps the new plant grow easily.
Step 2: Allow the freshly cut area to callus over. This should take a few hours.
Step 3: At this point you may out the stem in a rooting hormone to increase the chances and vitality of new roots.
Plant cuttings in the water: Put the cuttings in a glass or container of water. It doesn’t have to be a lot of water: just enough to ensure that the cut ends are completely covered. Change the water in the container once or twice a week and keep it in a warm, light location.
Plant cuttings in the soil: Place this cutting in regular potting soil about 5-10 cm deep. Avoid garden soil since this type of plant does not like to sit in a wet environment for a long time. For your plant to grow properly, the growing medium you use is essential.
For soil plants: Pay attention to the water level and create a moist rooting medium After 20-30 days, your new plant will sprout and have developed roots. Fresh leaves will soon appear. You can also dab rooting hormone powder on the end of the roots to speed up the rooting process, but it’s not necessary.
For water plants: For this rooting method it’s important to have the right water level. Too much water in the pot makes the roots drown and leads to root rot. Changing the water once a week is necessary.
Observe and remove any damaged or diseased roots to avoid problems spreading to other roots.
Although Zanzibar Gems are not outdoor plants, it is still recommended to bring the plant outside under the morning sun 1-2 times weekly to restore its photosynthesis ability.
Pros & Cons
The success rate of stem-cutting is 80-90%. This method also has a rapid seedling time, but the number of seedlings is limited. It is highly dependent on the number of stock plant branches.
Planting Zanzibar plants is quite easy and fruitful because this type of plant has a wide variety of compound leaves, the number of possible propagating plants increases.
Step 1: Identify the most mature stems and cut from those. Don’t propagate from a new plant.
Step 2: Prepare the leaves to form roots by allowing the cut end of the leaf to dry and callus before planting.
Step 2: You can dab the leaves in a solution of mixed rooting powder before planting too.
Step 3: Place the Zanzibar in your growing medium/soil and place it in a warm bright area in the daytime.
Propagate plants in the soil: Sow the petiole into containers full of potting mix. Soil filled with about 1/2 of the leaves is enough.
Propagate plants in the water: Simply dip the leaves in water (a shot glass will come in handy!) and let them do their thing.
For soil plants: Put the pot in a cool place and water it to keep the soil moist. After about 20-30 days, the petiole will sprout a new bulb with baby roots and fresh leaves. After planting for a while, you have to dig up the leaves to check if the leaves have germinated. White bulbs and undamaged leaves are considered successful.
For water plants: similar to stem-cutting, keep an eye on the water level and replace it at least once a week.
Pros & Cons
The success rate of Zizanbar leaf growth is up to 80%. It also takes a good while to get a mature plant this way, but it means that you barely have to damage the parent plant.
The division is the fastest and easiest method by far when it comes to propagating a Zanzibar gem. However, a mature plant with several stems and branches is required.
Step 1: Observe the stock plant for any new growth that has emerged from the soil. If new stems pop up from the soil near the parent plant, it’s time to divide it.
Step 2: Loosen the soil and gently pull the parent plant out of the container. Divide it into several plants which each have plenty of leaves and a healthy root system.
Step 3: Place your new plant in a pot filled with potting mix in a location that receives light or indirect sunlight.
Avoid excessive watering or using pots without drainage holes that cause waterlogging. It is recommended to spray water on stems, leaves, and soil to keep the plant moist.
Pros & Cons
This method is quite easy but you need to wait until your Zanzibar plant is mature enough to produce offshoots.
D. Seeds & Bulbs
Propagating Zanzibar using bulbs or seeds will make your life less complicated. Plant the seeds straight into the soil and you’re done. You can also soak and incubate the seeds to increase the germination rate. This method works almost 100%.
5. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a succulent, evergreen, perennial plant that is used as an ornamental. Sheathed, stemless leaves range in color from light green to dark green. Each leaf is shaped like a sword, and the edge around is serrated. The leaves are thick and fleshy. Inside is a crystal clear gel that contains a lot of ingredients that are good for human health. Aloe Vera flowers are yellow or red, growing in clusters.
Aloe vera can absorb harmful gases such as Andehyde formic, Carbon dioxide (CO), and Sulfur oxides. It also releases oxygen, cleans the air, and kills bacteria. In addition, the plant is also used to beautify, make medicine, and prevent premature aging.
How to propagate an aloe vera plant
Offsets, or pups, of Aloe vera, grow from the parent plant’s stem or roots. Pups rely on their parents for water and nutrients until they establish their root system.
Step 1: Select young plants with 4-5 thick, fleshy stems and separate the pups from its parent.
Step 2: Plant the baby aloe vera in the center of the pot, gently compress the base to prevent the plant from falling and fill it with the growing medium.
Water well and place it in a cool, gentle light. After 4-5 months, aloe vera leaves can be harvested.
Pros & Cons
Although the division method is simple to implement and maintain, it has a low propagation yield, making it incapable of producing large quantities.
How Planters Etc. are here for your propogating plant pot needs
Plant propagation is more simple to do than you thought, right?
After spending a lot of time and effort to arrange a potential mini garden for yourself, don’t forget to prepare durable and beautiful houses for your new plants as well. Using the right pots will not only make your plants grow faster and healthier, but also bring aesthetic value to your garden.
For the best and most beautiful homes for your beloved plants, shop now for high-quality fiberglass planters and get them ready for your new babies today!