How to Grow House Plants From Clippings

Overview

If you've never attempted to grow a new house plant from a clipping, try it just once and you'll be hooked. Growing a new plant from a clipping, or stem cutting, is a surprisingly simple way to acquire new house plants for just pennies, or to trade favorite plants with friends and family. Always take cuttings from healthy, growing plants.

Step 1

Fill a small container with a mixture of half perlite and half coarse sand. Any container with a drainage hole in the bottom will work.

Step 2

Dampen the potting mixture with a spray bottle. The potting mixture should be damp clear through, but not soaking wet, as soggy soil can rot the stem cutting.

Step 3

Use clean kitchen shears or pruners to cut a 4- to 6-inch stem tip from a healthy houseplant. Make the cut just below a leaf, or a node, which is the beginning of a leaf.

Step 4

Strip the leaves from the bottom half of the stem. Roll the bottom inch of the stem cutting in powdered or liquid rooting hormone.

Step 5

Use a pencil or small stick to make a hole in the middle of the potting mixture. Plant the stem cutting in the potting mixture. Try not to scrape off too much of the rooting hormone as you plant. Tamp the soil down lightly around the cutting.

Step 6

Put the container in a resealable bag or a clear plastic bag. Secure the bag snugly to the container with a rubber band. The bag will act as a mini-greenhouse, keeping the stem cutting warm and moist.

Step 7

Place the container in a sunny spot, but don't put it in a windowsill. The sunlight magnified through the bag can scorch the stem cutting.

Step 8

Check the stem cutting every other day. The plastic bag will usually keep the soil damp for a few weeks, but if the soil dries out, it must be misted immediately.

Step 9

Watch for new growth to appear after a few weeks. To be sure the stem cutting has rooted, tug gently on the stem. If you feel resistance to your tug, the cutting has rooted. At this time, the plastic bag can safely be removed and the cutting can be treated as an adult plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting container with drainage hole
  • Perlite
  • Coarse sand
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean kitchen shears or pruners
  • Pencil or small stick
  • Powdered or liquid rooting hormone
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band

References

  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
  • University of Florida: Care of Plants in the Home
Keywords: grow house plants, stem cuttings, indoor plants

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.