How to Propagate Houseplants
The advantages to having houseplants are many; they add beauty and colour to a room, give you a hobby that can provide you with pleasure and considerable satisfaction and make great gifts. Most houseplants are reasonable. They do not make tremendous demands upon your time and resources.
Perhaps, one of their greatest advantages is the ease at which you can multiply your houseplant collection, and to make this even more enticing, you can do so without spending a dime.
I have grown my indoor garden through trading cuttings both stem and leaf with others and through making my own cuttings.
I find the basil, which can be difficult to grow indoors, it gets leggy, will propagate readily from stem cuttings.
Several years back I began with one basil plant that was growing in a well lit (6-8 hours) windowsill and turned that single plant into enough offspring that I was giving them away to others.
The plants as they were all raised indoors did well in the indoor environment provide their basic needs were maintained.
You can increase your plant collection by saving seeds which for some houseplants can take time or through vegetative propagation. Vegetative propagation consists of using a specific part of a plant and encouraging it to form roots of its own.
Once the plant forms roots it is on its way to becoming a plant in its own right, stem cuttings are one way to achieve this.
Many houseplants can be propagated from stem cuttings. The cuts need to be made with a sharp knife or razor blade as you do not want to bruise the stem which may split the stem and casue rot to set in.
If you plant this operation ahead of time you can be sure to water the plant about two hours before you cut.
This ensures that the stems and leaves are fully charged with moisture.
If you are using a flowering stem, pinch the flowers off first.
If you want to hurry up the rooting process you can coat the cut end of the stem with a root hormone.
Rooting in water:
- make a clean cut just above a leaf axil or node, this allows the parent plant to make new shoots from the top axils.
- make a second cut immediately below the lowest node of leaf axil of the cutting and then gently remove the lower leaves.
- place in water ; it may take up to 4 weeks, but do check, for 2-4 cm of new root to appear.
Now you can place the cutting into a potting mixture. I have found this to be a very effective method for creating new plants when I want to expand my collection or to prepare a gift for someone, also if the plant is getting too large for its location, taking cutting and rooting them is an effective way to keep the size under control, maintain the plant’s shape and create a new plant.
It can take up to 4 weeks for the new roots to develop sufficiently enough to be placed into potting soil but I do strongly suggest that you keep a close eye on their growth as I have seen, basil at least, develop, much faster than this.
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