List of plants that grow from stem cuttings

Propagating Houseplants

The growing tips of many plants will produce vigorous new plants when cut and rooted properly. There are many ways to grow new houseplants from a “mother” plant: stem cuttings, division, leaf cuttings, and layering. The process for each is a little different, so here’s your complete guide to plant propagation.

How to Propagate From Stem Cuttings

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Step 1: To propagate new plants from most multistemmed houseplants, try rooting tip cuttings. First, cut 4 to 6 inches from the tip of the main stem or side branch. Cut just below a node (where leaf and stem meet).

Step 2: Remove the lower leaves and any flowers. Dust cut ends with rooting hormone powder, then plant in moist rooting medium (half peat moss, half perlite works well); keep leaves above soil. If you use powder, poke a hole in the soil with a pencil or chopstick so you can place the cutting in the soil without knocking off the powder. Or, skip powder and place in water.

Step 3: Provide indirect light and bottom heat. When cuttings planted in soil resist tugs, they are taking root. Dig up gently, check root growth, and pot up. Move cuttings in water to another rooting medium as soon as roots sprout; pot up.

How to Divide Roots

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Step 1: To divide a multistemmed houseplant, first remove the plant from its pot. Press your thumbs into the middle of the plant, grab the plant with both hands, and tug it apart. If this doesn’t work, remove the soil and try again. If that fails, cut the plant with a knife.

Step 2: Keep a large clump of roots with each division. Immediately pot the new plants in potting soil. Keep the soil evenly moist for the next few weeks to help heal the injured roots.

Step 3: Place plants out of direct light until they start to grow. Move them into brighter light over a period of 10 days.

Propagating and Dividing Tips

  • Bulb plants can be divided in a couple of ways. When a parent bulb produces small bulbs off to its side, simply divide the new bulbs from the old. Plant the new bulbs as you did the parent bulb.
  • Some bulbs, such as achimenes, are made up of many scales that resemble pinecones. For new plants, pull off one of these scales, pot, and water.
  • Caladium and tuberous begonia are among the houseplants that produce fat underground growths known as tubers. Cut the tubers into several pieces, making sure each division has an eye. Dust wounds with fungicide. Plant immediately.
  • Gloxinia and cyclamen produce underground growth somewhat similar to potatoes. Cut sections containing at least one eye from these tubers, then pot. Each section will produce a new plant.

Cutting Top-Heavy Plants

Dieffenbachias and similar plants often lose lower leaves because the plant becomes top-heavy. When this happens, cut the top off and propagate a new plant. Treat the top section like a stem cutting—remove leaves from the bottom inches of the stem and plant the stem in soil. Or, start the top section in water and transplant once roots start.

3 Ways to Propagate From Cuttings

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African Violet: To propagate an African violet, cut at least an inch of its stem with each leaf. Insert the stems into either water or a peat-based mix. Pot leaves that have been in water as soon as roots form. Pot others when roots are established.

Begonia: To propagate a rex begonia, set a healthy leaf, top side up, on moist growing medium. Sever a few of the veins. Pin the leaf down so the cuts come in contact with the medium. Keep moist. Pot the plantlets that grow from each cut.

Snake Plant: To propagate a snake plant, cut a leaf into sections; indicate with angled cuts which end is bottom. Dip bottom ends in rooting powder; insert in moist rooting medium. Pot new plants that form to sides of leaf sections.

Air Layering Propagating Technique

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Step 1: Make an upward cut into the stem just below a node at a point where you’d like new roots to grow. Cut halfway through the stem. Place toothpick or matchstick into the cut to keep it open. Dust area with rooting hormone powder.

Step 2: Place moist moss around the cut and secure it with plastic. Wrap wire twists at top and bottom. Mist moss regularly. When roots are thick, cut stem several inches below original cut and pot.

How to Propagate Plants With Runners

Plants that send out aerial runners and form new plantlets are easy to propagate. When age takes its toll on a spider plant, it’s time to root the plantlets and start over. Spider plants often become straggly. Their natural inclination is to produce new foliage and shed the old.

To root plantlets that form on aerial runners, set pots filled with rooting medium nearby. Pin plantlets into medium with hairpins. Keep moist. Once plantlets take root, sever stems to the parent plant.

Starting Houseplants from Seed

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Seeds are an inexpensive and satisfying way to start many houseplants, including asparagus fern, bromeliads, cacti, coleus, gloxinia, impatiens, and kalanchoe. But, because your plants won’t be of display size for many months, you’ll need patience.

Step 1: Fill tray or pot with sterile medium, mist with water, then top with 1/4 inch of milled sphagnum moss. Press moss with a book. Sprinkle seeds across moss surface or into shallow rows.

Step 2: Cover larger seeds with a sprinkling of moss. Pat small seeds into moss. Mist again. Cover tray with glass or plastic; place on a heating pad or the top of a refrigerator. Place in light conditions suggested on packet. Mist when the moss begins to dry.

Step 3: Remove glass when seedlings pop through the moss. Move seedlings to brighter light. Transplant when the second set of leaves develops. Dig seedlings up gently, holding by one of the leaves, not the stem.

Step 4: Give each seedling its own small pot filled to within 1/2 inch of top with light soil. Firm the soil around the base of each stem, making sure not to bury the leaves. Water immediately. Move plants steadily into brighter light.

  • By Jenny Krane

Propagating House Plants – Methods And Instructions

Cuttings is the most common indoors plants propagation method. Some plants which can be propagated with this method can be very hard to do “without the correct equipment and conditions”, while others are very easy and can even be started in water (soil is best though).

The Various Cutting Methods

Stem Cuttings

This process is the most common of all. Stems and side stems are the main sections of the parent plant which produce further growth for leaves or flowers, that can be cut if they’re producing growth, but not when they’re flowering.

Take the cutting with a very sharp knife or blade below the node (leaf joint), which can be anything from 3in – 5in long and remove the lower leaves (so a few are left at the top of the stem). All you need to do now is dip the bottom inch of the stem in rooting hormone and place it in a hole you would have made deep and wide enough (you can use a pencil) to place a couple of inches of the new stem inside (use cutting soil). Propagating during spring and summer will improve your chance of success.

Leaf Cuttings

Many plant types without a main stem can follow the leaf cutting method. There are three ways of propagating a plant with leaf cuttings, which is a leaf cut with an inch or two of petiole (shoot with leaves), just the leaf or a section of a leaf cut.

The most common way is to take a whole leaf with a petiole. All three methods have a similar process depending on the type of plant. Many succulents and cacti are propagated with just a leaf because there is only a crown of leaves and no woody type stems. Peperomias and saintpaulias are propagated with a leaf and shoot, and then streptocarpus and sansevieria with a leaf section cutting. Follow the propagating method advised that’s specific for each plant, as mentioned in the guides on this site.

Root Cuttings

Taking a root cutting involves removing a decent size root section and then cutting the section into 2 – 4 inch segments. It’s probably best to plant up to 5 or more root cuttings to improve the chances of success. Make sure the end of the root which was closest to the top (crown) of the plant and soil is placed just below the surface, which will produce the new shoots. Root cuttings are usually taken during the winter (dormant period), ready for the new growth to appear in spring for the new and parent plant.

Cane Cuttings

Some plants can be propagated by taking cane cuttings, such as cordyline, dieffenbachia and some dracaenas. This process involves taking a stem and cutting it into 3in long sections. These sections should at-least have one node or even better a bud that’s appeared, which is where the new shoot will sprout from and then roots should grow underneath the cane. The cuttings are placed on top of the soil horizontally and pushed half way into the soil, although some growers stand the cane upright.

Other Cuttings Advice

Re-potting: Once you know the foliage from the cutting has started to grow well enough (new growth on stem tips or plantlets for leaf cuttings), it’s time for it to be placed in it’s new pot which should be around 2 – 4 inches wide. With leaf cuttings the parent leaf will need to be removed from the plantlet before re-potting.

Pot, rooting bag or propagator: Many cuttings need a good moist and humid environment to be placed in once they’ve been removed from the plant, although succulents and other leaves need some drying out time. The most basic way to propagate is using a pot with a polythene sheet cut and placed over the pot with an elastic band around the pot. Rooting bags with suitable cutting soil can also be used or a plastic propagator, which is a tray with a lid that has to have cutting soil placed inside for the new cuttings.

Bottom heat: Professional growers that propagate many thousands of plants use methods which provide the bottom of the plant heat, speeding up the growth process. This can be done on a smaller scale with a heat mat placed under a suitable propagator or with an electrically heated propagator.

Soil: I find it’s easy to buy and use ready made seed and potting compost, which is sold in most gardening stores. It’s good practice to add a thin layer of sharp sand to the top of the compost for many succulents and cactus plants.

Placing cutting in water: There are some plants which form roots from cuttings easily in water, although it’s not really the best way to propagate. Once the cutting produces roots it then has to be potted, so I fail to see the point of placing it in water first unless it’s a temporary solution until a pot or soil is found.

Air Layering, Division, Plantlets and Seed Sowing

Air layering is the most interesting way of all propagation methods used on large stemmed plants which have become leggy, too big for their living space within a room or they’re hard to propagate with cuttings. Plants like the Swiss cheese or rubber plant can be done this way, if stem cuttings are not available to cut or you want a good section of a stem to begin a new plant.

To propagate first make a cut in the stem, which should leave more than 2ft of plant tip above. Two cuts should be made through a couple of millimetres of bark one inch apart, and then remove the inch section of bark (this is where the roots will form). A small bag is made (using a small plastic sheet) and placed around the cut section – filled with rooting medium, then tied at each end to secure the bag and moss around the cut stem. Roots will form within the bag, which will be removed once enough roots have formed with the top section of the stem – to be re-planted.

Propagating using this method will produce a plant which is much bigger than a stem or cane cutting, because the upper section of the parent stem and it’s leaves will be replanted with the new roots, so it’s had a good head start.


Division is quite an easy process of dividing one or more parts of the whole plant, although care should be taken when cutting a section the parent, if needed. Most will come part easily by hand. Spider plants, ferns, African violets and others are propagated by division.

Plantlets and Offsets

Plantlets: The spider and mother of thousands plants produce baby plants on small stems (stolons) called Plantlets, which are easily re-planted. There is not much explaning to do here, apart from the bottom section of the plantlet needs to be potted in moist soil or placed in water before potting.

Above is the mother of thousands plant, which you can see the small plantlets around the edge of the leaves.

Below is a large spider plant with plenty of baby plants that can all be potted.

Offsets: Offsets are formed at the side of the main stem on various plants, which are also called pups. These can be removed from the parent plant and re-planted. The pups need to have grown to a reasonable size before removing (remove as much of the plant from the parent as you can) which depends on what species the plant is. Once removed you can follow the same process as taking stem cuttings.

Parent Aloe Vera Plant With Four Offsets

Sowing Seeds

Sowing seeds is a method mainly used by plant nurseries and professional growers because it’s time consuming and they need the correct environmental conditions, which the average indoor gardener may find hard to provide. You can purchase seeds for various plants from stores and online, such as the solanum capsicastrum and strelitzia reginae spring to mind.

The process involves placing seeds on the top of the soil with space between each of them in a pot or tray and a plastic covering, then water thoroughly. Place a layer of compost over larger seeds (not small seeds) and provide the pot or tray a warm environment of about 60 – 75ºF (15 – 23ºC) with very little light (large but warm cupboards are a good place to sit them). Once the seeds have germinated and the first sign of life breaks the surface, take the cover off the pot and bring them out into a light location without direct sunlight.

Interesting experiments within the home can be done with all sorts of fruits and beans, which can be educational for the kids – even if the plant does not last very long.

Note: While this is a general guide – a grower should try and follow the specific advice for each species. You will find propagating options for each plant in the A -Z list of plants here.

Home Propagation of Houseplants

Reviewed by Mary Ann Gowdy
Teaching Assistant Professor
Division of Plant Sciences

Plant pieces cut from a parent plant and rooted to form new plants are called “cuttings.” Use of cuttings is a simple, inexpensive way to multiply houseplants and garden plants.

Many plants can be propagated by cuttings. Each new plant will have the characteristics and genetic makeup of its parent plant. Table 1 lists some plants that can be easily propagated at home and indicates the type of cutting or other suitable propagation technique to use for each.

Types of cuttings

Cuttings may be taken from stems, leaves or roots. Herbaceous stem cuttings, sometimes called slips, are commonly used. Popular plants such as African violet and begonia are propagated from leaf cuttings. A few plants may be propagated by cutting their long stems into segments, and others can be propagated by simple division.

Herbaceous stem cuttings
The type of stem cutting suitable for propagating most houseplants is the herbaceous cutting, which is made from tender growth of terminal shoots. Herbaceous cuttings are commonly used to propagate geranium, chrysanthemum or coleus (Figure 1). Cuttings taken from a rubber plant, dracaena or croton usually contain more woody tissue and are often called softwood cuttings. Techniques for taking and rooting these cuttings are the same, however.

Figure 1. Five-inch coleus stem tip cutting that contains a terminal growing point.

Leaf cuttings
Leaf cuttings include only a leaf blade or the blade and a portion of the petiole (Figures 2 and 3). Leaf cuttings of plants such as African violet should not be rooted with long petioles. Trim the petiole to no more than 1/2 inch long.

If a small portion of the main plant stem containing a bud is included with the petiole, the cutting is known as a leaf-bud cutting. Use of leaf-bud cuttings is limited. Hydrangea and rubber plants, however, are sometimes started with leaf-bud cuttings.

Figures 2 and 3
Violet leaf cutting without the petiole and cutting with a 1/2-inch petiole.

Plants from stem sections
A few houseplants may be propagated by cutting 1- to 2-inch sections from the stem (Figure 4). These segments, without leaves, are placed in the rooting medium in a horizontal position and covered slightly.

Figure 4
Stem section cutting with a prominent axillary bud.

How to take cuttings

Take cuttings from vigorous, healthy shoots. Most cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches long. Cut just below a node (where a leaf is attached) with a sharp, clean knife.

Remove leaves from the lower half of the cutting. Use a rooting hormone on all except easy-to-root plants such as coleus. Rooting compounds are available from many garden supply stores, mail-order seed and nursery companies, and mass merchandisers. Carefully use the hormone as directed. Keep cuttings clean. Don’t place cuttings in dirty containers or on dirty tables.


A 6- to 8-inch plastic pot filled with quality potting soil can be used to root several cuttings. Place the pot in a large plastic bag, and seal the bag to maintain high levels of humidity (Figure 5). Do not place the bag in direct sunlight.

Figure 5
Large zip-type plastic bag secured at base of pot with a rubber band.

Rooting materials

Clean, coarse, construction-grade sand is suitable for rooting many cuttings; however, it needs to be heat-sanitized prior to use. It is also excellent mixed with an equal volume of peat moss.

Vermiculite is a lightweight material used for rooting. It holds water well and promotes root growth.

Perlite is another excellent propagation material. It is lightweight and provides good aeration for rooting. Perlite makes one of the best rooting materials when mixed with an equal volume of peat moss.

Don’t use field soil as a rooting medium. It packs too tightly when wet and is prone to develop diseases.

Compressed peat pellets are available for seeding and can also be used for rooting cuttings. The pellets expand rapidly when soaked in water. Place them in plastic bags after soaking and draining; insert a single cutting in each pellet and close the bag at the top. No additional watering is necessary until the cutting is rooted and the bag opened.

Pots, medium and equipment used for rooting cuttings must be clean and sterile. Pots should be washed thoroughly using a household cleaner and disinfectant. Tools should also be washed in such a solution or dipped in alcohol. Any rooting medium that is not known to be sterile can be moistened and heated thoroughly in an oven at 150 to 200 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes. Peat moss, vermiculite and perlite don’t need sterilization when new.

Inserting the cutting
Promptly place the prepared cutting in the rooting material. Stick the base of the cutting 1 or 2 inches deep, depending on the length of the cutting. Firm the medium around the base and settle the medium by watering.

Care of cuttings

Never allow the propagation medium to dry out during the rooting process.

Because the cuttings have no root system, high humidity must be maintained at all times. Clear plastic is inexpensive and easy to use for covering the cuttings. A plastic bag slipped over a pot is simple and airtight. Support the plastic with wire loops or stakes if necessary to keep it from resting on the leaves.

Never place a plastic-covered container in direct sunlight. Heat will build up under the plastic and burn the foliage.

Care of rooted cuttings

The time needed for cuttings to form roots differs greatly among plants. Check the cuttings occasionally by carefully removing a few from the medium. When a cutting has roots at least 1 inch long, transplant it into a separate container.

The move from high humidity and moist rooting conditions to lower humidity and drier soil is the most critical step in successfully growing new plants from cuttings. Closely monitor the young plants the first few weeks after the move.

A good potting medium designed for houseplants is suitable for potting newly rooted cuttings and can be found at local garden centers or mass merchandisers.

After a cutting has become established in the medium, apply a soluble houseplant fertilizer according to directions. Then fertilize at monthly intervals. When the cutting is growing vigorously, normally in spring and summer, fertilizer may be applied every two weeks. During the winter, fertilize once a month.


Division is the easiest method of multiplying plants that naturally produce offsets or basal shoots. These new shoots usually have a few roots and can be separated and planted individually (Figure 6).

Figure 6
Spider plant offset from the parent plant.


Layering is a method of rooting a new plant while the stem is still attached to the parent plant. This easy propagation method can be done in the home without special equipment or structures. The four layering techniques — simple, tip, air and compound — are discussed in detail in MU Extension publication G6970, Home Propagation of Garden and Landscape Plants.

Air layering

  • Remove all leaves several inches on each side of the point where the layer is to be made.
  • From the center of the layering area, make a slanting cut upward an inch or more in length and about halfway through the branch. A preferred method of wounding is removing a strip of bark 1/2 to 1 inch wide around the branch (see Figure 7).
  • Apply a rooting hormone to the wounded surface or cut.
  • If a cut has been made, don’t let it heal. Instead, insert a small piece of wood such as a toothpick in the cut to keep the wound open.
  • Take a handful of unmilled sphagnum moss that has been soaked in water and squeeze out excess water. Pack the moist sphagnum around the branch to cover the wound.
  • Cover the ball of moist moss with clear plastic wrap; an 8- by 10-inch sheet is generally large enough. Wrap the plastic around the moss so that it overlaps and will not allow the moss to dry out. Clear plastic permits you to see when roots have developed.
  • Secure the plastic at each end with electrical tape, string, plant ties or other convenient fasteners. It will usually take a month or more for roots to appear.

Compound layering
Compound layering is suitable for long vines that may be alternately covered and exposed. Wounds should be made on the lower portion of each curve. For more information, see MU Extension publication G6970, Home Propagation of Garden and Landscape Plants.

After rooting, the vine can be cut into segments, each containing its own roots.

Care after rooting
Root systems of newly rooted layers are small in relation to the canopy. After the new plants are severed from the parent plant and potted, the humidity must be kept high. Enclose the new plants in a loose, clear plastic bag for the first week or until they are well established and do not wilt excessively.

Propagation techniques for selected houseplants

Table 1. Propagation techniques for selected houseplants.

Plant Propagation technique
Herbaceous cutting Leaf cutting Stem section Air layer Compound layer Division
African violet

Cut petioles 1/2 inch long. Place potted leaf cuttings in plastic bag.
Arrowhead (Nepthytis)

Cuttings may be rooted in water.
Asparagus fern

Keep young divisions constantly moist.

May be started from leaf sections placed on surface of rooting medium. Cleanliness important.

Use well-drained medium high in organic matter. Orchid growing mix useful.
Cast iron plant

Provide good light after division.
Chinese evergreen

May be rooted or grown in water.
Christmas cactus

Keep moist, but avoid overwatering during rooting.

Cuttings from new shoots in early spring often make better garden plants than divisions.

Root in water. Easiest of all.

Slow to root. Cover with plastic. Give good light.

Subject to rot during rooting. Do not overwater. Keep clean.

Stem sections relatively slow.
English ivy

Easy to root. Sometimes slow starting.

Related to African violet. Tip cuttings grow faster than leaf cuttings.

Keep constantly moist after division.

Root easily. Prefers a cool temperature after rooting.

Vigorous new shoots root most easily in midsummer.

Keep foliage dry during rooting.

May be grown from leaf cuttings.

Rooting hormones speed root production. Give bright light.

Tend to root best in spring or early summer.

Very easy. May be rooted in water.
Jade plant

Keep fairly dry during rooting. Must have well-drained medium, e.g., coarse sand.

Use vegetative shoots, not flowering shoots for best rooting.

Old, woody stems do not root as easily as more tender terminal shoots.
Maidenhair fern

Keep divisions constantly moist.
Norfolk Island pine

Very slow. Use only terminal cutting.

Many types. Provide high humidity and well-drained organic medium.

Root easily. Avoid excess moisture during rooting.

May be rooted in water. Spring and early summer give quickest rooting.

Propagate in late August for home. Cleanliness important.

Will root in water. Spring and early summer propagation usually most successful.
Rubber plant

Keep humidity high during rooting, or use air layer.

Needs high humidity and bright light. Slow rooting.
Shrimp plant

Easy to root. Give good light.
Snake plant

Place leaf sections in same position they grew. Will not root upside down.
Spider plant

Very easy to root runners. Pot directly in soil mixture.
Wandering jew

Very easy. May be rooted in water.
Wax plant (Hoya)

Use leafy shoots, not long thin vines.
Zebra plant

Use nonflowering shoots. Give high humidity and good light.

Audio files

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This rubber plant cutting was a terminal cutting, which means it was taken with a functional growing tip. It was rooted in clean sand.

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This rooted leaf and petiole of a peperomia has a new plant developing from the petiole.

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Begonia leaves can produce new plants not only from the petiole, but also from cuts made in the leaf veins.

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Some tropical plants such as sansevieria can be propagated using leaf pieces. This piece has roots developing at the base.

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With stem cuttings, plants such as the dracaena shown can produce both roots and new shoots.

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Propagating many tropical houseplants is easily done with good potting soil and a plastic bag.

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The bark on this rubber plant is being removed in a cylinder around the stem. This makes it unable to move sugars down the stem, but water and nutrients can still move upward.

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Sphagnum moss will keep the damaged area moist and protect new roots as they form.

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Properly wrapping the damaged area will retain the necessary moisture.

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For this completed air layering procedure, some leaves were removed to provide enough room for the operation.

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The sphagnum moss has been removed to show the beginning of root formation at the top of the wrapped area. After you see roots, you may remove the cutting from the parent plant and pot it.

Ornamental Production

Propagation Media:

A good propagation medium is made up of components that provide optimum aeration, drainage and moisture holding characteristics. These are usually made up from combinations of peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, sand or similar materials. The primary role of a propagation medium is to provide support and moisture while the plant is developing. These requirements are quite different from those of a potting medium, which may have to sustain a mature or growing plant over a long period of time. Generally speaking, potting media are not recommended for plant propagation purposes.

Many plants will easily root in water. However, the roots that form can be extremely fibrous and stringy. Plants rooted in water often have a difficult time becoming established after they are transplanted to a container.


The propagation medium should be thoroughly moistened before use. Many organic materials, like peat moss, have a waxy outer coating that resists wetting. Be sure to apply water slowly to obtain uniform distribution. This may require 2-3 applications. It is not uncommon for a medium to look wet on the surface but to be powdery dry in the middle. A well moistened media will make it easier to stick cuttings later on.


Light is an important environmental factor in plant propagation. Generally speaking, low light levels cause plants to root slowly. However, high light intensities can stress cuttings, causing them to burn or drop leaves. Diffused sunlight generally provides enough light for optimum rooting without causing injury to the cuttings.


Since cuttings do not have roots, they cannot replace the water lost through transpiration. Therefore it is important to maintain high humidity around the cuttings to cut down on the amount of moisture lost to the atmosphere.

These conditions can be provided by placing a clear piece of plastic over the propagation area. This causes condensation to form on the underside of the plastic that provides the necessary humidity.

Adequate ventilation is also required to avoid disease problems. The plastic covering should be placed such that air can flow freely around the cuttings as they root.


For best results, maintain day temperatures at 70 degrees F. During winter months, soil can be as much as 10-20 degrees less than air temperature, so provide bottom heat when possible. Ideal rootzone temperatures for most plants are approximately 70-75 degrees F.

Rooting Hormones:

Rooting hormones are often used to promote root formation. These materials provide supplemental auxin, a naturally occurring plant hormone that is responsible for root development. The basal end of the cutting is dipped into the chemical prior to sticking it into the propagation medium. These products come in different strengths and will vary according to the type of plant being propagated.

Stem and Section Cuttings:

There are two types of stem cuttings: tip cuttings, which include the apex or plant tip and a small portion of the stem; and section cuttings, which include a 2- to 3-inch section of stem (not including the apex or plant tip> and leaf joint.

To take a tip cutting, select a section of stem with a healthy crown of leaves at the end. Carefully remove the lower foliage to leave a section of bare stem to insert into the propagation media. Bottom heat, provided by a heating cable, will encourage rooting. Generally, cuttings do best with a media temperature of approximately 75 degrees F.

Plants Propagated from Stem Cuttings:

Plants which can be propagated from stem cuttings include the following:

  • African Violet – tip cutting
  • Acalypha (Red-hot cat tail) – stem cuttings
  • Aglaeonema (Chinese evergreen) – tip cuttings*
  • Begonia – tip and stem cuttings*
  • Beloperone (Shrimp Plant) – tip cuttings
  • Brassaia actinophylla (Schefflera) tip cuttings
  • Christmas cactus – tip cuttings
  • Cissus (Grape Ivy) – tip cuttings or stem cuttings
  • Citrus – tip cuttings
  • Coleus – tip cuttings*
  • Crassula (Jade Plant) – tip cuttings*
  • Croton – tip cuttings
  • Cordyline terminalis – tip cuttings*
  • Dieffenbachia – tip cuttings*
  • Dracaena (Ti Plant) – stem and tip cuttings*
  • Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant) – tip cuttings
  • Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig) – tip cuttings
  • Fittonia – tip cuttings
  • Geranium – tip cuttings*
  • Hedera (Ivy) – stem cuttings*
  • Helxine (Baby’s Tears) – stem cuttings
  • Hoya carnosa (Was Plant) – tip cuttings
  • Impatiens – tip cuttings*
  • Maranta (Prayer Plant) – tip cuttings
  • Monstera – tip cuttings
  • Nepthitis – tip and stem
  • Peperomia – tip cuttings
  • Philodendron – tip and stem cuttings*
  • Pothos – tip and stem cuttings*
  • Pilea cadierea (Aluminum Plant) – tip cuttings*
  • Plectranthus (Swedish Ivy) – tip cuttings and stem cuttings*
  • Podocarpus – tip cuttings
  • Poinsettia – stem cuttings
  • Selaginella (Resurrection Plant) – tip cuttings

Asterisk* indicates these are particularly easy to propagate.

Rooting Plants in Water:

Some plants root so readily from stem or tip cuttings they can be started in plain tap water. The water must be kept clean and well aerated for best results. A bright location out of direct sunlight is best. After roots are formed plants should be transferred to individual pots, or grouped together in a hanging basket. The following plants are among the easiest to root in plain water:

  • African violet (Saintpaulia)
  • Begonia
  • Cissus (Grape Ivy)
  • Coleus
  • Cordyline terminalis (Ti Plant)
  • Ficus pumila (Creeping Fig)
  • Hedera (English Ivy)
  • Helxine (Baby’s Tears)
  • Impatiens
  • Philodendron oxycardium (Heart Leaf)
  • Philodendron pandureaform (Fiddle Leaf)
  • Plectranthus (Swedish Ivy)
  • Scindapsus (Pothos)
  • Syngonia (Tri-Leaf Wonder)
  • Tradescantia (Wandering Jew)
  • Zygocactus (Christmas Cactus)

Leaf Cuttings:

Many plants with soft, fleshy foliage have developed the ability to reproduce themselves from leaves. Considering that some plants grow hundreds of leaves, you can appreciate the propagation potential for these species. In addition, leaf propagation is much faster and more reliable than propagating plants from seed.

The most widely practiced method of taking a leaf cutting is to snip off a healthy leaf, complete with a short piece of stem. The end of the leaf cutting is then dipped in a rooting hormone and the stalk is stuck in to a moist propagation media. Bottom heat of about 75 degrees F should be provided if possible. Adequate humidity levels are maintained by frequent water sprays, or by covering the propagating tray with clear plastic.

After about two or three weeks the leaves should be well rooted with a new plant forming at the base. It is these new plantlets which form around the stem which are used to transplant. The old leaf can be discarded.

Plants which root most readily from leaf cuttings include African Violets and Sansevieria.

Leaf cuttings of African violets root so readily, they can simply be suspended in a well aerated, jar of water. The suspended leaves can be supported by simply covering the mouth of a jar with foil or paper held in place with a rubber band. Holes are easily punched in this covering, and the leaf stems inserted so the bottom of each leaf stalk touches the water.

Sansevieria is another interesting plant that can be started from leaf cuttings. The leaves are long, leathery and sword-shaped. Just select a whole leaf and then cut it into 2-inch sections starting from the tip all the way down. Remember…if cuttings are stuck upside down they will not root.

Leaf cuttings can be literally crowded together, almost shoulder to shoulder. This crowding will not harm them, and once the root systems have been developed they can be separated for transplanting into individual pots.

Plants Propagated from Leaf Cuttings:

Plants which can be successfully propagated from leaf cuttings include the following:

  • African violet
  • Begonia rex
  • Cactus (particularly varieties producing “pads” like Bunnies Ears)
  • Crassula (Jade Plant)
  • Kalanchoe
  • Peperomia
  • Plectranthus (Swedish Ivy)
  • Sansevieria
  • Sedum

Leaf Vein Cuttings:

Plants with prominent leaf veins can be propagated from leaf-vein cuttings in two ways:

  1. take a leaf and cut it into sections, each section with a vein. The bottom portion of the vein can then be pressed into the propagation medium with the leaf portion sticking up to root just like a leaf cutting. In this manner one leaf can produce up to a dozen new plants.
  2. choose a large leaf and slash the veins at 1 or 2 inch intervals on the underside of the leaf. Place the underside of the leaf in contact with the propagation medium and weight down the leaf to keep it in contact with the soil. New plants will spring to life at each cut in the leaf.

Common plants that can be propagated from leaf vein cuttings include:

  • Rex begonia
  • Sinningla
  • Smithianthas (Temple Bells)

8 Plants You Can Start with Only Cuttings and a Glass of Water

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Rose Heichelbech

Anytime we’re stuck inside we wish we had more houseplants to keep us company and make it feel more more lush. Even amateur green thumbs tend to feel this pull to acquire and nurture more plants.

As a handy guide we’ve got this quick reference for some of the easiest plants that only require a cutting and some water to make new start. So, if you see any of these at friend’s house it’s worth asking for a cutting so that you can begin your own water propagation! One more thing: these are great projects to do with the kiddos, too!

Via/ Flickr

8) Croton

It takes about 4 weeks for a croton cutting to make new roots. The cutting needs to be 3-6 inches long and have at least 3 leaves.

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7) Papyrus

Being a plant that grows in and near water it’s no surprise that papyrus cuttings thrive when placed in water. The trick with these guys is that the head of the cutting goes into the water! Roots develop quite quickly.

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6) Zebrina Pendula

You’ll want to make sure that at least one nodule or leaf joint is below the water when you propagate zebrina pendula in water. The nice thing about this plant is that its long gangly stems are great for making cuttings from!

Via/ Wiki Commons

5) Most Succulents

Most succulents are quite easy to start with only water. Succulents need to be dry for a bit for the cutting wound to callus over before being placed into water, though.

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Click the “Next Page” button for the rest of these amazingly easy water propagation plants!

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Got a veritable jungle in your living room? Geraniums on every sunny windowsill? If you’re a real houseplant junkie you know that it’s an addiction that can get expensive: there’s the soil, the fertilizer, the endless scaling up of pots.

There is, however, one part of the equation you don’t have to break the bank on, and that’s the plant itself. Read on for the spend-thrift’s guide to growing your own houseplants from teeny-weeny, totally free cuttings. The plants below are some of the easiest to propagate, so you’re sure to have success with these.


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A close cousin to the geranium, pelargonium is undoubtedly more elegant and just as easy to grow. Find a specimen you really love and pinch a 3-inch section off at a node (the knobby bit along the stem that looks like a plant elbow). Remove all but the top two pairs of leaves and wrap the stem in moist tissue (especially if it’ll be a long drive back from the scene of the crime).

At home, immerse the cutting’s bottom-most nodes in water. Within two to three weeks you should start seeing the pale protrusions of roots, worming out from the cut end of the stem. Wait until you have a cluster of two or three longish roots before planting in a small pot (think 3-inch round or so) of freely draining potting soil. After you’ve conquered your first cutting, a whole world of planty possibilities will open up. That long and leggy scarlet-flowered beauty hanging from the town hall’s porch? Go ahead, sneak a piece. You know you wanna.


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Everyone loves jade — and there’s good reason why. This plant is one of the easiest to propagate, requiring just a single leaf to grow a new glossy plant. Like almost all succulents, jade cuttings need to be calloused before they can sprout roots — a process that can take anywhere from two days to a week.

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For the super low maintenance method, snip off a jade leaf at its base and place on top of (not in!) freely draining potting soil. Over the course of two to three weeks your jade’s roots will home in on that soil and dig in — just let nature take its course. Eventually, that lonesome leaf will create a tiny jade replica at its base: This is your new jade-to-be. Whatever you do, don’t try to separate the sprout from its cutting! Over the course of a few months the leaf will gradually wither up and disappear on its own time.



Named for the 16th century botanist, Leonhart Fuchs, fuschia’s popularity has stood the test of time. Fuschia magellanica grows in double or single petal in pink, purple, or maroon, but what this plant lacks in variety it makes up for in good old-fashioned un-fussiness. Remember to water fairly frequently (and don’t abandon it to broiling heat) and it will put forth dozens of pendant flowers all spring and summer long.

What’s more, it is very easy to grow from woody cuttings. Just as with pelargonium, snip off a 3-inch piece at a node, place in water for two to three weeks, and presto! Brand new fuschia. It’s important to make a clean cut when working with woodies, so invest in a small pair of sharp scissors.

Mother of Thousands

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Mother of thousands is exactly that: a wildly prolific reproducer. The species hails from Madagascar, along with a whole range of other oddball endemics. What makes mother of thousands a good, solid houseplant is its ability to reproduce vegetatively by growing plantlets along the margins of its leaves.

Once they’ve grown roots, these little plant babies pop off and aim for soil — and mostly just end up on the carpet. Next time you find a reproductive specimen, scoop it up. Treat it like any other new plant, giving it the right-sized pot (not too big, not too small) and keeping the soil moist while it establishes itself in its new digs. It might not look like much, but with a little love and water it’ll grow into a big strong succulent, fit for any sunny sill.


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Silvery and spotted, bright green or pink stemmed, begonias are just so dang diverse. They’re pretty easy to please, too and are happy in low light with sporadic, once-a-week watering.

Buying those really exotic little numbers with all the frills and polka dots can be a pricey affair, so next time you see an irresistible variety, pinch a little piece off the end of a non-flowering stem. As with any stem cutting, make sure to get several nodes to submerge in water — with begonias, this is where root growth will begin.

If you can only snag a leaf, that may work too. Slice the leaf in half, on a diagonal (so that the main veins are severed crosswise) and push the leaf pieces down into potting soil. The key to this method is that the veins come into good contact with the substrate. Water and cover with a plastic bag to keep the soil uniformly and constantly moist. In a month or two, new begonias will sprout from the cut leaves and be ready for transplanting. This method works particularly well with fleshy begonias like the Rexes.

REX begonias, those begonia “kings” grown for their extraordinary foliage, can be readily propagated from leaves. The leaves, however, must be vigorous and mature, of good substance and from a flourishing plant. Begonias may be propagated at any time and will produce goodsized plants in eight to ten months.

The old method (illustrated) of cutting the stem short, slashing veins in five or six places and pinning the leaf to the rooting medium, works well in the humid atmosphere of greenhouses and propagating boxes. In the house, however, with its dry atmosphere and often irregular watering schedule, greater success is achieved by cutting the leaf with a sharp knife into wedge‐shaped pieces an inch or two long with a vein at the inverted apex. The wedges are inserted half an inch deep in the rooting medium with the point originally nearest the stem down.

Wedges may be placed an inch and a half apart if care is taken to move them as soon as a few leaves start, and before their roots become entangled. In six or eight weeks, they may be lifted out with a pencil point or carefully severed from the mother leaf with the tip of a knife and moved with their roots intact. The original cutting will occasionally produce another plant, but more often withers, Although this method of propagation reproduces the original plant, on a few occasions two different plants will grow from the same leaf. This can occur with new hybrids that do not have fully stabilized characteristics.

For a rooting medium I prefer two parts peat moss to one part sharp sand. Fine vermiculite rines almost as well. A temperature of 68 to 72 degrees, provided by most houses, is ideal. Care should be taken to remove the cuttings from windows on cold nights as temperatures below 60 degrees inhibit growth. Watering is of critical importance. Cuttings must never be allowed to dry out and must not be waterlogged.

Tip On Propagating Begonias From Cuttings

Begonia propagation is an easy way to keep a little bit of summer all year long. Begonias are a favorite garden plant for the shaded area of the garden and because of their low light requirements, gardeners often ask if it’s possible to keep the cheerful little plants overwintering indoors. You certainly can, but annuals often suffer shock when brought in from the garden or the plants grow leggy after their summer outdoors. Why not use your garden plants to start whole new plants for your winter window sills by propagating begonias?

Begonia Propagation Info

The three most popular types of garden begonias are the tuberous types, which are large leafed and sold either growing in pots or as brown tubers for do-it-yourself planting; the rhizomatous, commonly called Rex begonias; and the old fashioned wax, which are known as fibrous rooted. While professional growers use different methods for begonia propagation for each of these types, we home gardeners are fortunate that all three types can be easily duplicated trough begonia cuttings.

It’s easy to propagate begonias with simple cuttings and every experienced gardener tweaks the basic methods to suit their own talents. There are two basic ways to propagate begonias through begonia cuttings: stem and leaf. Why not try them both and see which one works best for you?

Begonia Propagation from Stem Cuttings

My mother, bless her, could root just about anything by cutting 4-inch stems and placing them in a juice glass with an inch of water. She’d sit the glass on the windowsill over the kitchen sink so she could keep an eye on the water level and add more as needed. In a little over a month, her begonia cuttings would be sprouting tiny roots and in two they’d be ready to pot. You can try this method for rooting begonias, too. There are drawbacks, however. The stems sometimes rot, especially if the sunlight is too direct, leaving a mushy goo in the glass; and tap water contains traces of chlorine, which can poison the young shoots.

For me, a more sure fire way of propagating begonias is to plant those four inch begonia cuttings directly into a growing medium. Rooting begonias this way gives me more control over the moisture content of the container. Use mature stems for cutting, but not so old they’ve become fibrous or woody. Cut just below a node. Carefully remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem. If you happen to have rooting hormone on hand, now is the time to dip the cut ends into the hormone. If you don’t have any, that’s okay too. Begonia propagation is just as easy without it.

Make a hole in your planting medium with a dibble stick (or if you’re like me, use that pencil sitting on the counter) and insert your stem into the hole. Tamp down the medium to hold the cutting upright. Rooting begonias aren’t fussy about the medium they’re grown in as long as it’s light and retains moisture.

Tips on Propagating Begonias from Cuttings

Many gardeners prefer to create a mini hothouse when they propagate begonias to keep the soil evenly moist. You can do this by covering the pot with a plastic bag or with a plastic bottle with the bottom cut off. A favorite of mine is to line your pot with a plastic bread bag with a few holes poked in the bottom for drainage. Fill with soil, plant, lift the sides of the bag up and secure with a plastic tie. You can regulate air flow and moisture by opening and closing the bag.

Propagate Begonias from a Single Leaf

For the larger leaved plants, begonia propagation can begin with a single leaf. With a sharp knife, cut a mature leaf from the plant where the leaf meets the stem. Now clip the cut end into a point. Follow the directions above only bury the petiole (leaf stem), not the leaf. Rooting begonias this way will give you a whole new plant grown from the roots that develop at the end of the petiole.

Whether you use these methods for a windowsill garden or to grow your own flats for next spring’s outdoor planting, or even to save that begonia stem that has been sacrificed to the wind, propagating begonias through stem or leaf is an easy way to save money and show off you green thumb.