How to Propagate House Plants

I love these containers! They are such cute little homes for house plants. (Photo: oxxider/ love house plants. Love ‘em! I think they’re beautiful and elegant and calming and endearing, all at the same time. A well-placed house plant invites instant charm, a sprinkle of whimsy, and a hefty dose of happiness to any room. As a bonus, house plants are natural air purifiers. They literally clean pollution from the atmosphere, and help to keep a home healthy and fresh.

This love affair has led to a serious overpopulation of plants throughout my house. In my kitchen, they’re perched on every counter, above the cupboards, atop the breakfast bar, the fridge, it goes on. The living room is overflowing as well, with plants peeking out from behind the TV, pots used as book ends, and of course the indoor lemon tree that lives next to the couch. Now that I’ve learned how – and how easy it is – to propagate them, I can’t help but to keep doing it. More plants! I love to be surrounded by all the lush greenery, especially during the bitter winter months.

If you’re looking to bring a bit more green into your abode, don’t waste your money buying a bunch of fully mature plants. Way too expensive. Instead, you just need to one (or better yet, clip from a friend), which you can turn into many. Here’s how:

1. Take a Clipping

You’ll want to clip a piece of stem at least 4 inches long, about 6 inches is best. Cut directly beneath the node (the little bump where the leaves grow from) and cut at a 45 degree angle. If there are leaves on that node, snip them off.

2. Give It Water

Place the clipped stem in a small vase or drinking glass (mason jars work well) full of water. The stem should be submerged a few inches, but the upper leaves should remain out of water. Place the container in a sunny spot.

3. Keep It Happy

Change the water out frequently. Over the next few days or weeks, the stem will begin growing its own set of roots. They’ll start out as thin white hair-like projections, multiplying and thickening over time. Wait until the roots are a few inches long before you attempting to transfer the plant.

4. Transplant

Once the roots are long and sturdy, you can move the stem to soil. Choose a good sized pot with plenty of room to grow. After adding potting soil, gently lay the roots down, and then cover with more potting soil. Pat down – but not too hard! Water often, fertilize as needed, and enjoy your new plant!

This technique works well for most common house plants, as well as many edible herbs such as basil or mint. You can keep a perpetual culinary garden on your kitchen windowsill, just by using this method.

Or, you can effortlessly whip up an adorable, thoughtful, and practical present. Herbs are awesome as housewarming gifts, while pretty plants are perfect for a birthday or other celebration.

Sayward Rebhal writes about Portland remodeling and home issues, like painting without hiring a local painter, for Networx.

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