Want to learn how to get free plants? It’s easy if you know how to propagate houseplants with cuttings. Read on to learn how to take cuttings from your houseplants to propagate and give them to your friends or grow your indoor jungle! 

What you need:

  • Healthy plant or plants to propagate 
  • Clean and sharp secateurs or snips 
  • Propagating vessel or materials

Let's dive in: 

1. Healthy plant to propagate

Not all plants propagate the same way - some plants can propagate via cutting, where you need to locate a node ( a bump on the stem where roots can form).  See where my hand is below? That is the node on this Raphidophora tetrasperma plant. 

hand holding a plant showing a node for taking a cutting

Cuttings should be no more than 10cm in length 

Contain at minimum one healthy node - two nodes is safer 

Have three leaves maximum 

Make the cutting on a 45’ angle so that water droplets slide off and don’t sit on the surface of the cut. 

2. Clean and sharp secateurs 

When taking cuttings from your plants, it's so important to use clean tools to reduce the risk of infection. You are essentially wounding the plant when you cut it, so you want to make sure your tools and workspace is clean and sanitised. You can use metho (methylated spirits) or alcohol to clean secateurs and a sharpening stone to ensure they stay sharp. Blunt tools don’t make clean cuts and can bruise the plant material resulting in weaker plant material. 

3. Propagating vessel or materials 

Many houseplant cuttings will root in water, the roots may take 2-4 weeks to form and water should be changed weekly. Coloured glass vessels may be used instead of clear. 

Cuttings may also be rooted in perlite that has a small amount of water or sphagnum moss. 

To use perlite, always wet the material before use to dissipate dust and only open when wearing a mask in a well ventilated area. Fill the vessel with perlite, fill ¼ of the way with water and submerge the nodes in the perlite mixture. 

To use sphagnum moss, you’ll need to soak the dry sphagnum until it expands to twice its size, wring out the excess water so it's not dripping and place in a clear plastic container, place the nodes into the container so they are touching the sphagnum moss and pop a lid on the container. Place in a shady area and check weekly for roots

  1. Potting up your cuttings 

Once roots are 3-5cm long your cuttings should be fine to pot up. I recommend monitoring the cuttings regularly as the transition to potting mix can be stressful for your plant and while they are still forming roots, the plant won’t be able to take up too much water from the potting mix so be sure to let the potting mix dry out mostly between drinks. 

ebook cover, an image of green houseplants in white pots with the title: A plant for any room, the beginners guide to bringing plants indoors by Rachel Okell Owner and Founder of Our Green Sanctuary. Featuring 5 ways you are torturing your houseplants and how to stop it in one day or less



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About the Author Rachel Okell

A self confessed plant nerd, Rachel loves indoor plants, tropical plants and learning about new plants. Rachel is currently working as a Horticulturist helping people solve problems, pick plants & plan gardens. The best part of her job is being surrounded by plants all day! Rachel has a deep appreciation for all things green & hopes to share her knowledge and passion to help people learn about plants.

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