Whether you are a new plant parent or just looking into new propagation methods, here are 5 major benefits of propagating plants in water when compared against other propagation techniques!
Whether you’re creating cuttings to share with friends or adding new plants to your home - propagating plants can be a gratifying and fun practice.
Propagating plants is the practice of cloning a mother plant using a cutting and a growing medium. It’s a fabulous way to create new plants around your home without the need to buy them and it’s a lot of fun to do! Our go-to medium for propagating plants is water. A few other common propagation mediums include LECA, peat moss, perlite/vermiculite, and soil. Water propagation is often confused with the concept of growing in water.
You can think of these processes as complementary in a plant’s life cycle. Propagation takes place in the first 6-8 weeks of the plant’s growing stages. During this stage, plant cuttings settle into their new homes in the glasses and develop new roots. The next stage, after the plant has established its root system, is growing. This is when the plant is sprouting new leaves and stems as well as shedding old growth. Most people transfer the propagated plant into a soil pot before this stage. But, the fascinating thing about growing in water is that you can eliminate this step; instead, just place your plant in a glass and watch it grow!
If you’d like to learn more about the difference between growing and propagating plants in water, check out our blogPropagating vs. Growing Plants in Water: What You Need to Know.
Water propagation requires way less effort than other propagation methods. From start to finish, it can take less than 5 minutes to do! This can make propagating plants convenient for anyone working a busy schedule and with very little mess.
When possible, we recommend using filtered water and a sterilized knife, but we’ve broken both these rules numerous times before and still had plenty of success!
There isn’t any fancy equipment or materials needed for water propagation. Practically anyone can propagate plants in water with materials they have at home. With a cup, water, and a sharp, sterile knife or blade, you can be well on your way to propagating any number of plants.
The only thing you really need to invest in when propagating plants in water is time. Like we’ve mentioned before, propagation doesn’t happen overnight and can take up to 8 weeks to see any signs of growth (sometimes more, patience is key here).
When I first started propagating plants in water, it was a bit awkward because I didn’t know much about the process and wasn’t that familiar with caring for plants. But after my fourth plant propagating successfully in water, I realized water propagation is super easy to understand. You just cut a piece off your plant, fill a glass with water, and plop the cutting in the water. In other words, it is almost impossible to mess up!
Other mediums such as LECA and soil tend to be a bit more complicated than simple water propagation. You’ll need more experience and expertise in order to successfully propagate your plant in other mediums. But overall, water propagation is a great first step into experimenting with different growing mediums and plant care overall.
Using water as a propagation medium makes it easy to monitor a plant’s root development at any time. You can quickly check for root health, which helps to prevent root rot. You also won’t have to pull the plant up to know if the roots are formed when propagating plants in water. Pulling up the plants can disrupt and damage the existing root systems embedded in the soil. Even after repotting the plant, your plant can have trouble acclimating in its new environment. In water, you can easily observe your plant throughout the entire rooting process.
Beyond the convenience and ease, propagating in water is super fun and rewarding on so many other levels. For one, I love propagating in water because it teaches valuable lessons like patience and consistency. Plants (especially during the early stages of propagation) are sensitive to environmental imbalances and need regular care to thrive. It also helps build confidence in knowing that you're capable of nurturing something to its fullest potential, and it’s really gratifying to see your plants grow a new leaf or root over time.
There isn’t much information out there about water propagation or growing plants in water. That’s why we’re here to not only learn more about this new wave of plant care but also share what we learn with too. Read about Modern Botanical and our discoveries here!