How to Reproduce House Plants

Overview

One of the joys of growing house plants is that when a plant grows too large for its container, it can be propagated to make more plants. Various methods can be used to reproduce house plants. Most reproduce easily from divisions and cuttings. Dividing and taking cuttings from an overgrown house plant should rejuvenate the parent plant.

Root Division

Step 1

Remove the parent plant from its container. Remove excess soil from the root ball to expose the roots. Good candidates for divisions are plants that grow in clusters, such as Boston ferns or zebra plants.

Step 2

Use your fingers or two small bent-tine garden forks to separate the plant into two sections. Pull apart the plant, including the leafy growth and the roots. You may need to loosen the sections first, then use a knife or clippers to cut the sections apart. Make further divisions if necessary to reduce the plant size or to make more plants.

Step 3

Clean plant debris from each new section. Trim away roots that are not vigorous, and prune out dead branches and leaves.

Step 4

Repot each new division in a clean container with fresh potting soil. Spread the roots in the pot, and firm the soil over them. Water the new plants.

Stem Cuttings

Step 1

Choose a healthy plant with long, leggy growth. Overgrown vine plants, such as philodendron, wandering Jew or ivy, are particularly good for making stem cuttings.

Step 2

Use a sharp knife to cut sections of stem from overgrown parts of the plant. Each stem section should include healthy leaves. Plan the cuts so the parent plant is pruned evenly and retains a nice form.

Step 3

Place the cut ends into containers of water. The water should be deep enough to cover a leaf node on each cutting. New roots will grow from the nodes. Nodes are the points where leaves join to the stem.

Step 4

When the cuttings have several healthy roots, transplant them into pots with fresh potting soil. Keep the soil moist.

Leaf Cuttings

Step 1

Remove a leaf from the parent plant. Fleshy plants, such as jade plants and aloe will root from leaf cuttings. Some leaf cuttings must have the petiole included. The petiole is the stem-like part of the leaf. For other plants, such as aloe, one large leaf may be cut into smaller sections, and each section will take root.

Step 2

Place a leaf cutting into a small pot of moist, sterile potting soil. The leaf cutting should be about half below and half above the soil level. Enclose the entire pot in a clear plastic bag to create a miniature greenhouse.

Step 3

Keep the soil moist. Roots will take longer to develop from leaf cuttings than from stem cuttings.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Scissors or pruning clippers
  • Potting soil
  • Pots, containers

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Leaf Cuttings
  • Rubyglen: Houseplants
  • Learn2grow: Houseplant Techniques

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Growing Houseplants
Keywords: reproduce, propagate, root divisions, stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, house plants

About this Author

Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.