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How to Propagate Houseplants

Updated on March 10, 2017

Stem Cuttings

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 that 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.


cuttings

Stem Cuttings

Stem Cuttings:

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:

  1. make a clean cut just above a leaf axil or node, this allows the parent plant to make new shoots from the top axils.
  2. make a second cut immediately below the lowest node of leaf axil of the cutting and then gently remove the lower leaves.
  3. 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.

Comments

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  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    7 years ago from New Brunswick

    This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BYAnukcGGI may help clarify your concerns.

  • profile image

    Jake 

    7 years ago

    Bob,

    Sorry for bothering you, but I have some questions for you. I'm a complete novice at this, so there is some terminology I am unfamiliar with...perhaps you could help.

    You say: make a clean cut just above a leaf axil or node, this allows the parent plant to make new shoots from the top axils.

    I ask: how much of the parent plant should be left underneath the cut, and how long/tall should the offspring plant be?

    You say: make a second cut immediately below the lowest node of leaf axil of the cutting and then gently remove the lower leaves.

    I ask: This one seems strange to me...I'm having trouble visualizing it. From the cut I move up the plant to the first set of leaves above the cut, then cut there? Right so far? then remove the leaves that are at the bottom of the new cut, right? So then, the new lowest set of leaves is two nodes above the first cut, right?

    You say: place in water ; it may take up to 4 weeks, but do check, for 2-4 cm of new root to appear.

    I ask: Place the topmost part of the cutting in water (the one with leaves on top, but not on bottom), or the intermediate stem that I have cut out (the one without leaves?)

    Sorry for asking such questions, I just want to understand it so I get it right!

    Thanks

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Basil is my favourite, I have just started some in the kitchen window. Happy growing and thanks for the visit.

  • profile image

    A.CreativeThinker 

    7 years ago

    This is a very nice hub Bob. I enjoy making more plants

    from some of my houseplants, but never thought about basil.

    Great tips! :)

    Regards, A.CreativeThinker

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome and thanks for visiting.

  • MomZof3 profile image

    MomZof3 

    9 years ago

    Thank you for this information. I will keep it as a reference, since I can never remember where to cut (above the node? Below the node?) Very well written. Thanks!

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Hi Bobbie, it is a great way to grow your garden, thanks for the visit.

  • Bobbie Haws profile image

    Bobbie Haws 

    10 years ago from Gilbert AZ

    Hi Bob, I have caught the propagation bug and feel a whole new world of plant possibilities. They make such great gifts too. Great article.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, I did start the basil from seed indoors and yes I have had luck with the purple basil which is one of my favourites.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 

    10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Yum! Basil is my all time favorite herb. Great HUB BOB. I've never tried to propagate Basil. Does it work on the purple one too? I grew it for the first time last season but it's not as easy to find. Did you start your basil from seed indoors?

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks, my next hub will have even more tips.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 

    10 years ago from North Carolina

    Great hub Bob. I am saving this article for reference, chock full of tips.

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