5 Techniques for Propagating your Houseplants

5 Techniques for Propagating your Houseplants

Here you have the top five techniques for propagating your houseplants.
Who else loves free stuff? I know we do.
Propagating is a great way to expand your collection without the additional cost. Depending on the plant, there is a range of techniques you can use to propagate it.
Below you’ll find - which house plants you can propagate and what techniques will work best for them.
Common techniques are:
  • Stem cuttings
  • Division
  • Side shoots cuttings
  • Leaf-blade cuttings
  • Leaf vein cuttings
We all love plants; with the right light and a little water they can transform your indoor space into a living sanctuary. Another wonderful thing about them is how easy they are to propagate, for gifts or just to grow a larger collection.
For each of the methods we’ll be talking about, you’ll need to have a ‘mother’ plant, this will be the plant you cut your propagations from, and that will keep growing once this cut has been made.

Stem Cuttings

This is the simplest way to propagate your plants.
Plants that can be successfully propagated from stem cuttings:
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Pothos (Epipremnum)
  • Arrow Head (Syngonium Podophyllum)
  • Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)
  • Horsehead Philodendron(Philodendron Bipinnatifidum)
  • Swiss Cheese Vine (Monstera Obliqua)
  • Hoyas
  • Inch Plant (Tradescantia Zebrina)
  • Arroyds
  • English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta)
  • String of beads (Senecio Rowleyanua)
  • Hearts on a String (Ceropegia Woodii)
And almost all climbing plants
Stem cuttings rely on one simple thing, a node. A node is located just below where the leaves join to the main stem. They are the starting forms of roots, the thickest part of the plant stem, It’s where flowers, branches and leaves first grow from. Nodes are very important when propagating plants, if you see a node, you can use the stem cutting technique.

How to propagate stem cuttings:

Cut the stem a few centimeters below the node, cut off the lower leaves (they are no longer necessary), and place it in water.
Important tip – change the water every few days. This will bring in new oxygen for the plant and reduce algae buildup.
Roots will start to form from the nodes, additional nodes below the waterline mean more roots grow. Roots will grow faster in warmer weather, the best times are spring and summer, however, they will grow in cooler months.
Once you have a hearty mass of roots you’re ready to pot your plant in soil, clay pebbles or your desired substrate.
Spider Plant growth


This is an easy method of propagating an already established plant
Plants that can be successfully propagated from division:
  • Sansevieria (Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law's Tongue)
  • ZZ Plant - Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (Zanzibar Gem)
  • Calathea
  • Spider plant
  • Umbrella Plant (Schefflera Arboricola)
  • Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Aloe Vera
  • Shamrock Plant (Oxalis Triangularis)
  • Money Plant (Crassula Ovata)
Any many more...
Some plants grow with underground dry zones, runners or bulbs. This means you can separate an entire chunk of your plant and regrow it as an individual plant. To find these, you need to have a good look at your plant and find a section that is separate from the core ‘mother’ plant; either as a pup, new branch or bunch.

How to propagate via division?

Once you’ve found the section you want, release it from its pot and soil and cut or rip it away from the ‘mother’ plant. Turning one plant into multiple.
You want to ensure you get as many roots as possible in each clump.
Once you’ve done that it’s ready to be potted in a fresh mix with a good watering. Over the coming months, your clumps will grow new roots and become an established plants.

Side Shoot Cuttings

This technique requires plants that produce pups.
Plants that can be successfully propagated from Side Shoot Cuttings:
  • Pilia (Chinses Money Plant)
  • Many succulents
  • Bromeliads
  • Spider Plant
  • Aloe Vera
  • Ponytail Palm
Once you have your plant and inspect the soil area, you may find a pup.
A pup is a small offshoot of the mother plant which is growing separately.
Pilia  Side Shoot Cuttings

How to propagate a pup?

Cut under the side shoot and remove the pup. Side shoot cuttings work best when transplanted directly into well-drained compost, potting mix or coir peat (coconut fibre) and it will grow into a brand-new plant.
Ensure you give it a little water the bed it into the potting mix.

Leaf-blade cuttings

The hardest but most rewarding propagation technique
Plants that can be successfully propagated from leaf cuttings:
  • Sansevieria (Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law's Tongue)
  • African Violet
  • Begonia rex
  • Cactus
  • Crassula (Jade Plant)
  • Kalanchoe
  • Peperomia
  • Plectranthus (Swedish Ivy)
A leaf-blade cutting requires a plant that holds enough nutrients in its stems to regrow a pup from a small segment. Sansevieria (Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law's Tongue) is a great example of this, as they hold additional liquid in each stem and have adapted to re-grow if that stems gets disconnected from the plant.

How to propagate via a leaf-blade cutting?

For this technique, you need to cut the stem of the plant at the base. Once it’s been cut, you’ll see just how succulent the stem is, if there is plenty of fluid inside it means it's good to grow. Repotting instantly isn’t necessary with these plants, so you could leave it for a few days to callus over.
Cut the stem cutting into 5-10cm segments. Ensure you know which is the top of the cutting for that is the direction it will grow.
Dip the base into rooting hormone powder, this helps the roots develop faster.
Place cuttings into a pot filled with perlite and coir peat (coconut fibre), a few centimetres deep in the pot. Make sure they’re firmly into the mix and you’ll find they grow roots quite easily.
As with any cuttings, make sure you give them a gentle watering to ensure they’re bedded into the potting mix.

Leaf vein cuttings

This is the most challenging propagation style, but it is incredible when it succeeds.
Plants that can be successfully propagated from leaf vein cuttings:
  • Begonias
  • African violet
  • Cactus
  • Crassula (Jade Plant)
  • Kalanchoe
  • Peperomia
  • Sansevieria
  • Cissus (Grape Ivy)
  • Dracaena (Ti Plant)
  • Hedera (Ivy)
  • Helxine (Baby’s Tears)
  • Maranta (Prayer Plant)
  • Philodendron
And many more...

How to propagate via a leaf vein cutting?

For this technique, you’ll want a big healthy leaf with prominent veins.
Take the leaf and snip it off, then cut any remaining stem off the leaf. Turn it over so you’re looking at the back of the leaf and place it on a chopping board for easy cutting. Once you’re looking at the back of the leaf identify the most central and prominent vein.
Cut the leaf into segments across the main vein. Each segment needs to include the main vein as that is where the roots and pup will develop from.
Once you have your cuttings place the cut leaf segments into a light mix of compost.
Tip – Use a hairpin to hold the vein in place and ensure it touches the compost.
Give it a gentle watering, and over the coming days/weeks it will start to develop roots and sprout pups. It’s truly an amazing technique and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Here you have the top five techniques for propagating your plants.
Final words of wisdom:
  • Choose a quality potting mix. Ensure it is aerated, has good drainage and has all the beneficial nutrients. For healthy plants, you need healthy soil.
  • Keep the water flowing for the first new weeks of any new plants.
  • Change out the water of your water propagations regularly, or you’ll stunt the plant's growth.
  • Ensure new propagations get good light and high humidity.
I wish you the best with your new selection of plants and keep your mother plants healthy so you can grow new plants regularly.