Houseplant Propagation Techniques

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Houseplant propagation techniques vary depending on the type of plant.

Propagating indoor plants offers a fabulous way to add beauty and colors in your life. They provide a fresh, satisfactory, and pleasant environment to your home. In fact, many people find that the lush green foliage color spreads positive vibes like cheerful moods. A glance at the blooming flowers of different shades boosts up your mood. And we find it very easy and inexpensive to grow indoor plants.

Houseplant Propagation Techniques: Why?

Growing new plants from established ones offers a far easier and cheapest to grow a plant. Share your newly started plants with friends and family. Use the new plants to increase your own greenery collection. You might even begin a small business!

Yes, propagating new houseplants from your existing ones offers a way to make some side money. In fact, you might continue to expand to a full-time business.

However, note that you need to check for existing patents. It is illegal to propagate a patented plant without obtaining permission. For more information, read here.

Also, be sure to check your local laws on selling live plants. Some areas require inspections and licensing to legally sell.


If you are interested in learning about starting a plant business, part-time or full-time, you might consider this system.

Today we share the primary houseplant propagation techniques. These allow you to grow and establish your vegetation and make copies of these eye-catching growths. The most common methods of propagation include cuttings, division, layering, plantlets, offsets, suckers, and seeds. Let’s explore the techniques and start multiplying your greenery for your home!

This mini-sized toolset provides care and maintenance for houseplants.


houseplant propagation techniques
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In cutting, we separate a part of the plant to generate a new plant. Use the cutting technique to get new plants identical to their mother plants.  Similar to a clone, the plants produced show no variation from the parent plant. Also, hybridization is not possible.

You can easily multiply your desired color and type of plant. Then, place it in different rooms in your house. Or, gift it to your friends.

Let’s have a look at the methods available for cutting.


Stem cutting provides a favorite method to propagate multi-stem plants.  Take about 3 to 5 inch cutting of stem from just below the node edge (a point where leaf emerge). Now remove the leaves attached to the stem. Dip the raw edge in the rooting hormone.

Using a pencil, make a small hole to the potting soil where you duplicate your favorite plantation. Place the stem cutting in the pot. You will need to provide indirect light and damp to wet soil conditions. You might try to support your cutting with chopsticks or pebbles to hold it in the right position.

Alternatively, many people use a simple glass of water to start the stem cutting. Make sure the water is clean and use plain water (no chlorine). Change the water as needed to keep it clean.

Or, you might find sand works best for you. Yes, sand. I’ve included a video (scroll down) that shows how easy this is.

A few precautions must be kept in mind:
  • The larger wound will leave the mother plant in trouble.
  • Remove the leaves quickly or wrap the stem in plastic bag otherwise stomatal transpiration will result in wilting.
  • In the case of succulents, cutting must be allowed to be dried to avoid rotting.
  • Charcoal powdered is sprinkled over the wound to avoid microbial infections.
In the following species stem cutting can be successfully used:
  • Pothos
  • String of pearls
  • Jewel orchid
  • Star jasmine
  • Wandering Jew
  • Monstera


As the name indicates, simply cut a leaf and grow. A healthy leaf provides the best results. In fact, the leaf’s health helps determine the health of the resulting plant. Diseases spread easily within the plant and to the new growth.  Leaves indicate the health of a fully grown plant. Even a minor change in the plant’s health shows in the leaf. Leaf-cutting propagation works well for succulents. Separate a healthy leaf from the stem. Some choose to allow it dry for about 24 hours and let the wound heal. We choose to apply the rooting compound and place it immediately into the chosen media. Choose either water, sand, or even a good starting mix for best success.

Keep in mind:
  • Avoid cutting an off-color, diseased, or chlorotic leaf.
  • Long leaves (e.g. snake plant) can be cut into 2 to 4-inch sections. (5-10cm)
  • To promote photosynthesis, keep most of the leaf above ground.
  • Usually, sand or well-drained potting mixture works best for succulents.
  • Vermiculite (potting mix) works well for leaf cuttings of African violets.
  • For begonia, make incisions in a few veins, pin the leaf into the moist growing medium.
  • If you are growing in water, keep in mind the entire leaf should not touch the water. Otherwise, it will start rotting.
In the following species leaf cutting is appreciated:
  • African violets
  • Wander jew
  • Snake plant
  • Jade plant
  • Echeveria
  • Begonia
  • Christmas cactus
  • Zamicoculcas zamifolia


Root cuttings involve a larger root section divided into smaller parts of about 2 to 4 inches. It is suggested to use 5 or more cutting to increase the success rate. Cut the roots and place in the soil, keeping the crown near to the soil surface, new shoots can emerge easily. Root cutting is readily taken during winter.

Rhizomes division: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
can be cloned by dividing rhizomes. Remove the plant and tug it to divide it into two halves (you can use a knife if needed). When teasing apart make sure that the two-division equally gets all the parts including root, leaves, and stem. Pot both the halves again and provide a favorable condition. Wait for the twin plants to establish properly.

Bulb/tuber Division: some plants like caladium or tuberous begonia give off bulb/tubers. To multiply these plants, cut the tuber into small sections in such a way that each section has an eye from where the shoots emerge. Some plants produce a new bulb with time, simply detach the new bulb and plant it in the pot.

Following are the indoor plants that can be grown through root cuttings:
  • Achimenes
  • Caladium
  • tuberous begonia
  • Boston Fern
  • Cyclamen
  • Calathea
  • Gloxinia
  • Zamioculcas zamiifolia

The video below shows rooting cuttings.

LAYERING: Houseplant propagation techniques

Air layering is the method of establishing the root system of the stem without separating it from the already existing plant.

How to do it?

Select the stem that can be easily pruned later, when needed. Notch the stem halfway, such that it is still attached to its parent plant. Place a toothpick in between the cut to provide space for rooting and add rooting powder. A ball of moist moss is wrung-out around the notch and wrap in the plastic film. Secure the top and bottom ends of wrapping material with a wire twist. After a few months, the roots can be visualized through the bag. This root stem is now separated, unwrapped, potted, and allow to develop shots now.


Many indoor plants have a mother’s nature. These plants give off baby plants in the form of suckers. To propagate,  separate their baby plants and grow as an individual plant similar to their mother plant. (see information on spider plants below)

Suckers often readily develop from adventitious roots and develop aerial shoots. These suckers then grow and attain the size of a small plantlet then these are separated and grown individually.

  • Bromeliad
  • Staghorn ferns

Similarly, some plants, such as mother of thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) and the spider plant  (Chlorophytum comosum) produce babies with no help from you.

In fact, Kalanchoe daigremontiana’s common name, mother of thousands, indicates the plentiful seeds that this plant produces almost continually. Not only prolific but hardy, this plant’s seeds will grow almost anywhere.

The spider plant grows baby plants on its branches. To propagate plant the spiderette in a pot filled with a lightweight potting mix.  And be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom.

Alternatively,  leave the baby attached to the parent plant until the new plant takes root. Then, separate it from the parent by snipping the runner.

Both of these plants grow and reproduce quite prolifically. Therefore, they make excellent starter plants to enjoy throughout your home. However, you need to consider the number of baby plants to keep.


These are the side shoots, appear at the roots or stem sometimes. Offsets are present at the base and while separating it, there is a great risk of hurting the plant’s newly-formed roots. Before separating the offset, make sure it has been developed up to a size that it can survive individually. Once an offset is mature you can cut it with the help of a knife and pot it. Another method sometimes used in the case of offsets is to remove the mother plant from the pot after blooming and thus there’s n need to transplant the offset.

Some indoor plant species which give offset are:
  • Echeveria
  • Aloe
  • Urn plant
  • Hawothia
  • Pink quill plant
  • Peperomiodies
  • Air plants
  • Dwarf banana


It is the easiest method in which one or more plant parts are divided. Plants like African violets can be replicated using divisions. They form clusters/crowns that can be separately grown to form an individual plant. Some ferns also develop clumps which can be cut and potted to develop individual plants. Carefully take a division from the plant. However, use caution to avoid harming the plant as too many wounds will create a problem for the parent plant.

Here is the list of a few plants which can be grown individually through divisions:
  • Cast-iron plant
  • Asparagus fern
  • Ever-blooming begonias
  • Prayer plant
  • Ferns

SOWING SEED, the basic of Houseplant propagation techniques

Growing in-house plants using seed is not so common method of propagation. Only a few plants produce viable seeds. This method will not damage or affect the growth of the mother plant. Many plants can be grown through vegetative propagation techniques and as well as seeds. For example, African violets can be propagated through cuttings also. But seeds gives a chance of variation in the colorful flower of these beautiful African violets.

How to do it?

To sow a seed, use fresh compost, optimum temperature, humidity, and pH level. This encourages healthy and vigorous germination. Always use a sterile rooting mixture. Consider types such as peat moss, sphagnum, etc. Prepare the planting site carefully. Then, sow the seeds to the recommended depth for that type in the growing medium.

Mist it. Then, cover the tray with a plastic sheet. Now place the tray in indirect light. Keep in slightly warmer conditions. Mist it again when it begins to dry.

Within 2 to 4 weeks, the new plants begin to emerge. Take a lot of care until it attains a fair, compact size and develops a strong root and shoot system. The root system helps to ensure a strong, healthy plant. Therefore, strong roots build strong plants.

Transplant it when the seedling develops the first true leaves. While placing in the pot, keep in mind that the leaves should not touch the soil. Fix it in the pot and water immediately.

Although less expensive than other methods, growing from seed includes a few drawbacks
  • It takes more time for germination than vegetative propagations.
  • The seed for in-house plants, unless treated, does not store long, usually about one season.
  • Many seeds may fail to grow and flourish. In fact, many may be unviable or dormant.
Here is the list of few in-house plant can be propagated using seeds.
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Gloxinia
  • Impatiens
  • Gerbera
  • Coleus
  • Umbrella Grass
  • Cacti
  • Asparagus fern


Looking for a way to propagate a few plants with a decorative approach? We like this stand system.


Which Plant? Which Houseplant Propagation Techniques to Use?

No matter which replicating technique you are using, once the roots show as established, transplant it. Use any desired pot to get an adult plant with the same characters as present in their mother plant. Spring and summer represent the growing season for most plants. Therefore, propagating during those seasons increases your chance to be a successful planter.

Great gift idea!

Bonsai Trees

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This website contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I use these commissions to help maintain this site to provide helpful information to you.


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