After spending so much time at home, you might be keen to bring more nature into your space. Turn your house plants (or sneaky clippings from your neighbours’ plants) into MORE plants with this super simple intro to basic water propagation.

Okay, so, water propagation?

The concept is pretty straightforward. You take a clipping or a section from the mother plant, pop it into water, wait for roots to grow. Then you transplant that into a new pot. Armed with this knowledge, you could now go kamikaze and just see what grows and what doesn’t, but here are some helpful tips that’ll hopefully bring your propagated plants a little more success.

The night before…
Fill your clean glasses, beakers or jars with water and leave them overnight before placing in your cuttings. This way it’ll be room temperature so it won’t shock the plants, and the chlorine will have had time to dissipate. Repeat when you want to refresh the water.

It helps to plan
It’s good to know which house plants will survive in your particular space. While there are loads of ways to propagate loads of different plant species, we’ve picked three types of house plants that are easy to care for – arranged from bright to lower light conditions.

Cacti and succulents – bright, indirect light

Alright, there are tons of varieties of cacti and succulents, but generally speaking, these fleshy plants are some of the easiest for plant owners to keep alive, and they’re just as easy to propagate.

Your best bet is to look out for plantlets (lil’ baby plants) that have sprung up alongside the mother plant, but many succulents will also make new plants from single leaves. Separate these with clean hands or scissors (I wiped mine down with hand sanitiser because, TBH, I’m a bit lazy) and lay them out on a paper towel. This is the point when you’d dip the wounds in rooting hormone if you have, but not to worry if you don’t.

After leaving the cuttings to dry in indirect light for 3 – 7 days, or until the break wound heals, you can pop your stems and leaves straight into soil, or into a glass of water to grow roots. Refresh the water every few days or when it starts looking dirty. You can keep the plants in water if you like the look, just know that the longer they’re in water, the more the plant will struggle to re-adapt to soil.


Pothos and philodendrons – bright, indirect light to medium light

Technically these are two different genera of trailing vines, but you propagate them in very much the same way. You’re gonna cut off about 15 cm of vine with clean scissors. See those little brown bumps along the vine? Those are nodes, and those are where the roots will grow from, so cut the stem just below a set of leaves and leaf nodes.

Remove two or three leaves from the bottom of the cutting so that the stem with nodes will be underwater, and the leaves will stick out of the top of your glass. Pop the jar or glass into bright, indirect light, out of reach of dogs or cats.

Change the water every 2 – 3 days, and in about 10 days, you should start seeing roots. (If the roots take longer to form, don’t fret, we all grow at our own pace). Once the roots are about 5cm long, you can plant into fresh potting soil, or keep in your water jar.

Snake plant (a.k.a. mother in law’s tongue) – medium to low light

We put these in the medium to low light category, but to be honest, they’ll survive most light conditions so long as they don’t get overwatered. Don’t worry though, if they’re rooted in water, that rule doesn’t count.

Once again, you’re going to cut off a leaf, or if a whole pup if your mother plant has any, using clean, sharp scissors. Let the leaf cut callous over for 1 – 2 days, then pop them into your glasses of water and wait for them to root. The time it takes for roots to show on these can vary quite a lot (4 – 6 weeks) but when they’ve got a few cms on them, you can transplant them into soil, but only if you want to.

And one final tip…

Use brown or blue glass containers (preferably second hand) as opposed to clear glass when putting water-propagated plants directly on your window sill. This will help filter the bright, direct light that can burn your plants and can also help prevent algae blooms.

Happy gardening 😊

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