How to Grow New Plants From Old Plants

Buying new plants from your garden center year after year can get expensive. With the tanking economy, replacing plants each year may become an expense you will need to cut out of your budget. There are ways to grow new plants from the old ones you have in your garden now. You can also start new houseplants from your old ones. It's relatively simple. Here are a few tips to start new seedlings that, with a little care and effort, will be full-fledged plants in just a few months.


Step 1

Find a stem on the mother plant that has healthy new growth. Cut straight across the stem below a node, which is where a leaf is attached to the stem. The cutting should be 3 or 4 inches long. The distance between the node and where you cut off the stem should equal the width of the stem. For example, if the stem is 1/8 inch wide, make the cut 1/8 inch below the node. African violets can be propagated with just one leaf. Cut a leaf from the outside of the violet plant that looks healthy. Make certain there is about 3 inches of stem on the leaf.

Step 2

Remove all leaves from the bottom inch of the cutting, and make certain the cut has no ragged edges. This is to make certain nothing will rot in the water or the sandy mixture in which you will root the cutting.

Step 3

Take a few of the leaves off at the top of the cutting to prevent too many leaves from stealing food the roots will need to form. Just remove the oldest or least healthy looking leaves. Leave the young new growth on the cutting.

Step 4

Put your cutting into either a jar of water, or a small container of a mixture of sand and peat, or just some sand. Make certain the rooting medium is moist. If you are working with an African violet leaf, place some plastic wrap over the top of a glass or jar filled with water. Make a small slit in the plastic wrap, just large enough for the stem to fit through. The plastic wrap will hold the leaf out of the water, preventing rot, while allowing the stem to get wet.

Step 5

Place your cuttings in a light, warm place, such as a window sill that does not get strong afternoon sun. Cuttings do not like direct sun. It should take about three or four weeks for your cuttings to develop roots. When the roots are developed, plant your cuttings into a small pot. Do not plant into too large of a pot. Start small and pot a plant into progressively larger pots because plants develop best when their roots are crowded.

Tips and Warnings

Plants that can be successfully propogated from cuttings include: geraniums, begonias, ivy, philodendrons, rosemary, lavendar, sage, spider plants (cut the baby spiders off the mother plant), coleus, and tradescantia or wandering jew. Others can be grown easily from seed that are gathered after the plant "goes to seed" in the fall. Those include morning glories, Gerber daisies, zinnias, hibiscus, sunflowers and many more. Take a chance and experiment. You have nothing to lose, and may gain several new plants.

About this Author

Susan Miller has been a professional journalist since 1990, specializing in travel and business. She has written for the "Indianapolis Star," "South Bend Tribune," "Indianapolis Business Journal" and was a Midwest correspondent for the American News Service. Miller studied design, photography and technology at Purdue University and Central Piedmont Community College.

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