Guide to Propagating plants in water


I know it goes without saying that we love plants and are looking into new ways of expanding our knowledge around plant care. Plant propagation is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to growing your plant family because it allows you to grow new baby plants from those that already exist in your home. While we offer pre-propagated plants with our cradles, it can be fun to propagate from your own houseplants or clippings you can get from family and friends. 


Things to know when propagating Plants in water

But, before we dive into how you can propagate plants in water, let's go over some of the plant basics! One thing to note about propagating plants in water is that not all plants will propagate. There is a lot of trial and error involved, even if you've been caring your plant in all the right ways. That's why is super important to have more than one cutting, especially if you're dealing with more finicky plants like a Silver Pothos. 


Good news is that water propagation works for most plants! The propagation process takes about 4-8 weeks to see root development. If you start to see that your cutting hasn't propagated within a month and is starting to turn yellow or brown, then you should try your luck with another cutting. Don't be discouraged if this happens to you because it can be because of a number of reasons. 


If you don't succeed, try try again!


Division method

When propagating plants in water, you want to examine the root systems and how your plant is structured. The division method is best for plants with thicker stems (like a Monstera) but you can use this method other all types of plants. The division method is just gently remove soil to break up the mother plant (usually the plant is growing in dirt) into two or more smaller parts, where both the crown and roots are left in tact. 

Step 1: 

Step 2: After separating the mother plant into smaller baby plants, you want to make sure you clean off any remaining dirt on your plant. 

Step 3: 

We found that plants tend to grow roots based on their living environment. You can see a difference in density and color between soil and water roots. Water roots are more fine/thin and light in color--whereas, soil roots can appear darker and thicker. Of course, this can vary from plant to plant.  Generally, we want to keep all (if not, some) of the the plants roots. In some cases, we would cut back the soil roots so that the new root system comes in looking cleaner and less messy (overall, more aesthetically pleasing). But, this is completely optional and isn't necessary to a successful propagation.


Next step is preparing your plants new home.

Then you have our favorite propagation method, which is submerging a node in water. You want to first cut right below where the branches sort of separate from each other. A proper cutting would have about 2-4 leaves still attached.


After about 4-8 weeks, you should see your calathea sprouting thin, hair-like roots! With the proper care and attention, you'll be looking at new roots develop in no time!



Propagation isn't foolproof and it may take a few tries to get it right. Propagation is often done in potting soil, but our favorite kind is propagating in water. This can only be done to certain plants that have involved in an environment that allows it. Most Ariod plants work well, such as pothos, swedish ivy, tradescantia varieties and monstera's. Many of these plants developed in very wet terrain (many times swamps) so being able to adapt and grow in flood conditions was key for survival. Most plants will do better growing in soil, however many can last for years living off just fresh water.

What you'll need to propagate:
Plant to propagate (pothos is a great one to start with.)
Knife or sharp scissors.
A vase or glass with fresh water.
 
Step 1:
Pick a nice strand that you want to propagate. 
On a healthy vine, look along the stem for a tiny brown root node. These are where roots develop.


Step 2:
Cut below the node.

If you can't find an obvious one, many times roots will form from where leaves are trimmed off.



Some plants may even have aerial roots like this one here. Remove any leaves close to and below the node that may end up under water in your propagation glass.

Step 3
Place your cuttings in your glass vase in a spot that receives indirect bright light (a nice shelf or desk usually does the trick.)
After a few weeks, the roots will start to develop and grow.


Keeping things fresh and healthy:
You'll want to keep an eye on the water and keep it fresh so the plant gets the nutrients it needs. 
Here's a Coleus that we propagated and left a bit to long. You can see the water has turned brown. This is not great and should be changed immediately.
If you check every few days or even once a week you should be fine.
 
 
 
 
 

We have tons of cool information on our site about propagating and growing plants in water! If you're looking to learn more about the propagation process, check out these articles:

1. 

2. 


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