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5 Best Places to Find Plant Cuttings to Grow in Water

The wonderful thing about cuttings is they are accessible and affordable. Whether you’re buying, trading, or gifting, a few plants often go a long ways towards filling up your empty grow vases. 

Additionally, taking cuttings does not kill the plants you’re taking them from - think of it more as a haircut - and nearly all the common (and rare) houseplants can be propagated in water. Many of those can go on to growing in water as well. It’s really quite the fun journey! 

Before we get started on the best ways to source cuttings, here is a glossary followed by a few topics that are important to cover!

Here's a glossary if you'd like to skip to a section: 

5 plants growing in water on the wall

Image above, from left to right: Calathea Makoyana, Heart-shaped Philodendron, Anthurium Andraeanum, Syngonium White Butterfly, Monstera Adansonii

When is it okay to take cuttings?

Plants are everywhere. Nature, homes, offices, plant nurseries, parks. And as accessible as so many of these seem to be, nearly all of these plants are there for a reason. Taking cuttings from plants in a store is theft. Your friends wouldn’t want to go back to their favorite monstera only to find it missing leaves and nodes. Plants in public are often part of shared spaces like parks or gardens and not to be taken from. 

Here’s a story on Vice of the San Diego Botanical Garden having a rare plant cut and stolen from them and it’s seriously not cool.  

It should go without saying, but here we are reminding you to please please please, ask before taking any cuttings. 

Now on to the fun stuff! 

How to take cuttings from plants without killing them

If you track down a plant and either bought it or have permission to take a cutting - we’re here to prepare you for that moment. Taking cuttings to propagate is pretty easy once you’ve done it a few times. Here’s an overview of the node method of propagation which can be done in a few quick steps that will work for the majority of your houseplants: 

  1. Gather a knife, hydrogen peroxide, nutrients, and your plant
  2. Sanitize your knife with hydrogen peroxide
  3. Identify an area of growth which has leaves and accessible nodes 
  4. Count back 3 to 5 nodes with 2+ leaves and make a clean cut through the stem of the plant below the selected node
  5. Remove any leaves on the lower nodes while keeping no less than two leaves on the cutting - we usually select which leaves to cut based on aesthetics and the how the plant rests in the vessel you’ve chosen to grow it in
  6. Place in water and add nutrients 

A list of plants you can grow in water and propagate 

There’s a ton of houseplant varieties that grow amazingly well in water. To the best of our knowledge, there’s no conclusive list out there BUT from our own experiments at home, here’s a short list of some of our favorites that readily available in most areas: 

  • Philodendrons
  • Pothos
  • Monstera
  • Calathea
  • Caladium
  • Aglaonema 
  • Begonias
  • Anthurium
  • Tradescantia
  • Jade plants
  • Rubber trees & ficus
  • Peperomia

If you’d like to learn more about a how a specific variety of the above performs in water, check out this list of plants we’ve put together and are constantly working on. 

5 best ways to find cuttings to grow in water

Existing houseplants

Are you already a plant person? Do you have sills and floor space lined with plants throughout your home? Great, that’ll make sourcing cuttings so so simple for you! Check out the list above and we’re sure you’ll find some crossover with the plants you’re already caring for. The best part about taking cuttings from existing houseplants is that you don’t need to kill your existing plant to take the cutting! 

The other cool thing about taking cuttings is that it effectively clones your plants - you can take a single plant and multiply it out as many times as your cuttings propagate. 

Want more plants? Don’t want to pay for them? Take cuttings and plant them. 

Family and Friends

If you don’t have plants at home, friends and family are a great next place to source plants!

Our experience is that plant people love to share! Don’t go asking for cuttings of their favorite specimens - there’s a whole prop and swap culture for that - but if you ask nicely without specific expectations of what cuttings you’ll receive, many plant people will be more than happy to set your up with some of their plants that were ready for a trim. 

Online Plant Communities

Leaving the land of free plants, we get into plant communities which are constantly propping and swapping their specimens. Our favorite of this list is easily Blossm App which specializes in the trading of plants, both locally and for shipping. Because the app was designed for plants specifically, there are a ton of cool features in there to help you find the perfect cutting with minimal hassle. 

If you’re in a local that doesn’t have a ton being offered on Blossm, your next best bet are local Facebook Groups. Search for prop and swap, rare plant, and purge and splurge communities to find these! 

Finally, if all else fails, you can find some great deals on unwanted plants on OfferUp! 

Local Nurseries

Tried and true - local nurseries will reliably have a section for indoor plants. Bring the list above and the friendly staff will pretty quickly direct you two a full selection of plants for you to choose from. 

Buying Plants Online

Last but not least, for those of us who like to do our shopping from the comfort of our phone and computers, online shopping for cuttings is very much an option. We try to make cuttings available in our shop March through October to make life easy for customers wanting everything in one place. We’ve also found some great Etsy shops which sell cuttings as well - just search for “cuttings” or “nodes” for a large list of offers!