Tropical Plant Propagation Care


Although the term "tropical plants" brings to mind lush plants and warm, humid environments, many familiar plants are actually tropical, including annuals such as impatiens, begonias and geraniums and indoor plants such as spider plant, rubber plant and pothos. Most tropical plants are easily propagated from stem cuttings. Indoor tropical plants can be propagated any time except winter. Although outdoor tropical plants can be propagated any time during the growing season, most root best with cuttings taken from succulent new growth in early spring.

Step 1

Take cuttings from healthy tropical plants that are actively growing but have no flowers or flower buds. Using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or garden pruners, cut a 3- to 4-inch stem just above a leaf.

Step 2

Fill a pot with a potting medium such as coarse sand or a mixture of equal parts perlite and peat moss. Dampen the potting medium with a spray bottle until the potting medium is evenly damp but not soggy. Any pot with bottom drainage will work.

Step 3

Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem. Dip the bottom inch of the stem in powdered or liquid rooting hormone. Make a small hole in the potting medium with a screwdriver or pencil to avoid rubbing off the rooting hormone and plant the stem in the hole. Pat the potting medium lightly around the stem or spray the medium to settle the soil.

Step 4

Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag and secure the bag to the pot with a rubber band. The plastic bag will act as a mini-greenhouse, keeping the tropical plant stems warm and moist. Move the pot into bright light out of direct sunlight.

Step 5

Watch for new growth to appear, which can take between 10 days and two months, depending on the plant. When new growth appears, remove the plastic bag.

Step 6

Keep the soil slightly moist. Mist the foliage lightly with a spray bottle once or twice every week, as tropical plants like humidity.

Step 7

Fertilize the new tropical plant every other week, using a regular fertilizer for indoor plants. Apply the fertilizer according to the recommendations on the fertilizer package.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors or garden pruners
  • Pot with drainage hole
  • Sand or perlite and peat moss
  • Spray bottle
  • Powdered or liquid rooting hormone
  • Screwdriver or pencil
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • Fertilize for indoor plants


  • University of Missouri: Home Propagation of Houseplants
  • UCDavis: Propagating Plants with Cuttings
  • Molly's Tropical Plants: Taking Cuttings
Keywords: tropical plant propagation, propagate tropical plants, propagating tropical 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.