Skill Share Propagating plants from cuttings

By Julie Perri


Hello fellow students!

This is a terrible time to be someone that likes to stay updated but also has anxiety. That's me. To keep my mind on the "here" and "now", I have been caring for my plants and creating opportunities to do more with them. In this video, I walk you through the process of creating cuttings from the plants you have. Cuttings create new plants simply by, well, cutting off parts of existing plants. Many plants are amenable to creating cuttings. I'll use the word propagation as well, which simply means "creating new plants (with roots) from cuttings". 

To begin the cutting process, choose a leafy plant you have in your home. In the video I used a heartleaf philodendron, but you can use a pothos, tradescantia, umbrella plant, African violet, prayer plant, or other philodendron types. I am so happy to help you identify your plants and determine if they can produce cuttings; reach out!

When making cuttings, where you cut matters. I advise to look for where new growth happens on your plant. Do your stems split into two stems before growing new leaves? Does you plant have "elbows" where it bends and creates new stems? Does it have one main stem with many small branches? Look for these details to find new growth connection points. Any cutting needs to have a connection point where new stems can form. These are called nodes. 

To find nodes on your plant, find the newest leaves that have appeared. Place your fingers on the stem right next to the new leaf, and then trace the stem backward to where it connects with another stem. That connection point is the node. 

Sometimes your plant's new growth seems really far from another stem (common with tradescantia), but there are many other nodes before those connections. So instead, look for an angular bend to the stem that has extra thickness and some bumps. These will create new growth also.

The goal is to cut about halfway in between nodes with a swift movement. In my video I use both plant shears and regular kitchen scissors, and both work equally well. You can choose to make a cutting that has one node on it, or you can make longer cuttings that have multiple nodes.

Once you have your cuttings, the only remaining step is to place them in water. I use a normal kitchen cup or a cute mug to keep my cuttings in. You can fit as many cuttings in the cup as you like. What is most important is that the cup is tall enough to have water covering at least one node of each cutting. Then place your cuttings cup in a sunlit location that the plant will enjoy. And you are done with the cutting process! 

The cuttings will begin growing roots from the nodes within a week, and the cuttings will be ready to plant in pots within 3 weeks! Sometimes some cuttings are slower, though, so just keep those in water until the roots are about as long as the cutting itself. Monitor the cup to make sure that the water level is always above the nodes. If water gets yellow or looks kind of thick and gross, simply pour it out and replace with fresh water. 

That's my knowledge about propagating leafy plants. Let us know if you want more knowledge (about succulent propagation, where to find plants during this time, or any other plant questions). It will give us both something to do to keep anxiety at bay!

With love from the virtual Grad Center,