Houseplants can bring great joy to our homes, and the desire for more plants is constant. Luckily, many houseplants are easy to propagate, and you can multiply your plant family for free.
Not all houseplants are as easy to propagate as the next, so I went ahead and made a list of the Top 10 Easiest Houseplants for Propagation.
Plants propagate using a few different methods, but the three most common ways are stem/leaf cuttings, root division, and from pups/offshoots.
Leaf cuttings are the most common method of propagation. Leaf cuttings are super easy and take little effort. All you need is a pair of sharp/clean scissors and some fresh soil.
Leaf Cutting Propagation Method:
- Find a healthy-looking stem on any of these plants and cut it at an angle just below a node (a node is a growth zone where a stem or leaf would grow from).
- Next, you want to root this new cutting by placing it in a jar of water until your new roots are about 1 inch long. This process can take a few weeks, so make sure to change the water in the jar if it starts to get a bit cloudy looking.
- Once the roots form, simply plant them in fresh soil in their new pot.
- Water your new plant when you repot it, and then give it some time to breathe and adapt to its new home. DON’T OVER WATER and be patient.
Best Plants For Leaf Cuttings Propagation:
- Pothos: This is a great plant to learn about propagation on. Pothos are easy-going plants, and they give you some nice room for any error. The best time for propagation is going to be Spring or Summer.
- Tradescantia: These beautiful plants left unchecked will keep growing until they look wild and scraggly. They like good trimming and when it’s time to do some pruning, why not take some leaf cuttings and expand the family.
Choose a couple of the shorter, healthier-looking stems you cut back, and discard the longer ones. Remove the leaves from the bottom of the stems you’re choosing to propagate. This allows the stem to focus its energy on rooting and increases your chances of success.
- Umbrella plant: A quick-growing, exotic-looking plant that can reach sizes of up to 6 ft tall. This plant may require pruning fairly regularly if you don’t want a giant in your living room.
For propagation, clip off a strong-looking stem about the width of a pencil. Umbrella plant cuttings may take up to 2 months of water propagation for their roots to fully form before you want to repot them.
- Rosemary: Fresh rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to have around the kitchen. It’s both fragrant and flavorful and works great in many dishes.
When choosing your rosemary stems for propagation, be sure to look for younger shoots with new growth. Avoid using older-looking stems. I like to select stems that are about 5-6 inches long. Before placing in water, use your fingers to gently strip off the needles on the bottom 2-inches of the rosemary cutting.
Root division is going to be the best propagation method for plants with roots that clump together. Early Spring or late Fall is usually the best time of year for dividing your plants. Many of the plants that propagate by root division will continue to grow new shoots until they fill their pots.
If your plant pot seems like it’s gotten a bit crowded, it’s probably a good time to do some division and separate the plants into their planters.
Dividing plants is not difficult, and you will get some new plants from the deal for free. Many perennial flowers can be divided by this method for filling out a garden or lawn space.
Root Division Propagation Method:
- Start by gently digging up the entire clump of roots from the mother plant.
- Brush away as much of the dirt as possible and separate the roots as much as possible.
- Using sharp/clean scissors or a knife, divide the plant into new ones. Sometimes you will even be able to do this with your hands.
- You can repot these babies right away using fresh soil.
- Keep them moist and in a spot with bright, indirect light until they are established in their new homes.
Best Plants For Root Division Propagation:
- Boston fern: A classic old-school houseplant that can regularly outgrow its pot home. Dividing it and repotting it into numerous pots is a win for everyone.
- Let the fern dry out a little bit to make the roots easier to handle.
- Once you’re ready, remove the entire plant from its pot, and lay it on its side.
- Use a sharp serrated knife and slice the rootball in half.
- Continue this dividing until you’ve divided the rootball into 4 or 8 pieces.
- Repot in well-draining potting soil and enjoy your new jungle.
- Peace Lily: If you’ve never repotted your peace lily plant, there’s a good chance it has grown to overflow. When this happens, I like to divide it up and create some new plants in the process.
Gently remove the whole plant from its pot, and carefully cut or pull the roots apart. There should be a few different root clusters, and each one of these can now be its plant. Repot each one, and water thoroughly.
- Snake plant: Another common houseplant often seen in restaurants and spots in the house doesn’t get ample sunlight. Snake plants are hardy and don’t require much sunlight or attention.
Once you see some new growth sprouting up from the central cluster, you can dig it up and cut it away from the main plant. If you want to take multiple shoots, I’d dig up the entire plant and cut out what you want. You can repot these newbies right away.
Plants with Pups/Shoots
Some plants will naturally start propagating by themselves and start producing new “pups” or offshoots of themselves. These offshoots are clones that grow from the stem or roots of the mother plant. These new pups will rely on the mother plant for nutrients and water until their root system can be established.
Pups/Shoots Propagation Method:
- Once you notice a new offshoot (probably most common in the spring) let the shoots keep growing until they are about 3 inches long or more.
- Using sharp scissors, cut them away from the mother plant.
- You can plant these right away in their own pots without the need to root them in water.
- Water them right away and enjoy!
Best Plants For Offshoots & Pups Propagation:
- Spider Plant: These plants are trendy for a good reason. They are low maintenance, look elegant, and are easy to propagate. They will start reproducing and growing new shoots all on their own. It will start sending out “runners” with cute little flowers on the ends.
Go-ahead and carefully cut these from the long stem, attaching them to the mother plant. You can root them in a jar of water or plant them directly in the soil. Going straight to soil is fine, but it may take a bit longer for the plant to settle and start growing again.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is one of the best plants in your house for purifying the air. I love to propagate these and keep them around my house and give them out as little gifts.
As with most succulents, aloe vera plants produce pups, and you can just gently cut them away from the main plant and repot them.
- Ponytail Palm: Another good plant for those folks who are prone to neglecting or killing their plants. Spring is going to be the ideal time for the propagation of your ponytail palms.
Ideally, pups that are about 4 inches long are going to be best for propagation. You can repot right away using a cactus mix or sand-based soil.
If you don’t currently own any of the 10 plants listed above, check to see if any of your friends do! There’s a good chance they will let you take a few leaf cuttings or shoots to help you itch your green thumb.
Bonus Tips for Propagating Your Houseplants
- Use clean scissors or shears when making your cuts. Clean snips help prevent infections and spread any diseases, pests, or fungus.
- Change the water in your jars regularly during your water propagating.
- Fill all of the spots in your house with your new plants.
- BE PATIENT. Plants grow at their own speed.