Tropical plants are the friend of the indoor gardener. Most of the houseplants you find inside a home are from tropical or subtropical regions. Sometimes house plants are expensive. Propagation of plants you already own is an easy and cheap way to fill out home foliage without shelling out the dollars.
Most tropical plants only survive indoors in the United States. Small areas such as Florida and the lower western United States are suitable for outdoor planting. Plants indoors often continue to grow year round without a dormancy period, meaning seeds are rarely produced. Some tropical plants are varieties that do not produce seed, or produce a seed that does not grow a plant, or seed that is sterile.
Seeds that are produced by tropical plants do not require pretreatment like temperate woody plants, according to University of Georgia Extension. No moist chilling is required to force the seed. Seeds of tropical plants are sown as soon as they are mature. Seeds are planted into a sterile medium such as vermiculite or equal parts sand and peat moss. A heating plate set at 70 to 75 degrees F to heat the soil will increase the speed of germination.
Keep the seeds moist and never allow them to dry out. Keep seedlings out of direct sunlight, but do increase the sun intensity as the seedling matures. A cover of plastic or glass will keep humidity in the soil. Seedlings are transplanted after the first set of true leaves appear. The seedlings is lifted from the container using a knife or spoon and planted in soil at the same depth.
Cuttings are a faster way to propagate tropical plants. Cutting is the process of removing a leaf or section of the mature plant and rooting the material into soil. A leaf cut from a plant is often enough to clone a plant. Cuttings are possible at any time of the year and is possible several times from the same plant. Cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches in length from a vigorous shoot, according to the University of Missouri Extension, with the cut made at a 45 degree angle. Leaves are removed from the lover half of the cutting.
Using the Cutting
Keep the cutting clean. Do not touch the bottom of the cutting to prevent contamination.The bottom of the cutting is dipped into a rooting hormone powder or gel. Rooting hormone is available from most garden centers, and available online. The cutting is place 1 to 2 inches into a sterile potting mixture and allowed to take root over a two week period.