of Rhode Island GreenShare Factsheets
House Plants by Cutting
propagation is fun and easy in the home and is a good way to increase
your number of plants inexpensively. Plants produced from cuttings
will be identical to the parent plant, though there are a few
Plants can reproduce asexually from pieces of stem, leaves and
roots because the cambium layer, a tissue located just beneath
surface, forms a callus tissue once it is cut from which new roots
and shoots can develop.
is important to provide the correct environment for rooting cuttings
and to keep them healthy during the process. Select propagating
material that is healthy, free of disease and insect problems and
of a good green color. Good techniques and proper environment cannot
make up for use of poorly selected cutting material.
light must be provided as well, although cuttings and newly rooted
plants must be protected from direct sunlight. Intense light levels
cause excess water loss and cuttings may wilt rapidly. Remember,
there are no roots on the cutting initially that can take up water.
relative humidity of 90 to 100 percent is necessary when propagating
plants. This decreases evaporative loss of water from the leaves
so the cutting will not dry out. Humidity can be maintained around
the cuttings by covering the container and cuttings with a plastic
bag or 'tent.' Once cuttings are rooted, this covering can be removed.
any container can be used for propagating plants if it provides
drainage. Make sure containers are clean. Use a mixture of equal
parts of perlite and sphagnum peat moss as a good rooting media
that provides moisture retention, good air and water drainage and
permits roots to penetrate easily. Keep the media moist, but not
soggy during rooting.
hormones are beneficial to use. Dipping the base of the cutting
in this material helps obtain uniformity in rooting and development
of a heavier root system. Avoid using too much on each cutting as
this may inhibit rooting. Remember, hormones are not a substitute
for good propagation techniques and using healthy plant material.
Root-inducing hormones are available at garden centers.
Probably the most common method of propagating plants in the home
is by stem cuttings. Pruning an old plant to acquire cuttings helps
recondition the plant and causes new branches to form. Each cutting
should be one to three inches long and have two or three leaves
attached. Cut 1/4 inch below the node and pull off the leaf at the
node. Insert the cutting in the media so this node is covered with
common plants that can be propagated using this method include boxwood,
citrus, coleus, croton, fittonia, some peperomias, prayer plant,
velvet plant and zebra plant.
such as Chinese evergreen, Dieffenbachia and Dracaena that develop
cane-like stems can be propagated by cane cuttings (actually a
of stem cutting that has no leaves). A stem that has lost many
older leaves can be cut into one-inch long sections, each including
least two 'circular rings' (leaf scars). Between these rings are
dormant buds that will grow into new plants. The piece can either
be laid horizontally on the soil or set vertically so that half
the piece is covered with soil. It may take some time for these
pieces to root and sprout.
The leaf blade, or the leaf blade and its stem, is used to propagate
a few plants such as Rex begonia, African violet, Sansevieria, Jade
plant and some peperomias. Roots and shoots form at the base of
the leaf; the original leaf does not become a part of the new plant,
but is usually discarded when the new plant is transplanted. It
usually takes longer for this kind of cutting to root than stem
This cutting consists of the leaf blade, the leaf stem and a short
section of stem with the attached bud. This method can be used to
produce many plants from a single parent plant--at least twice as
many as produced from stem cuttings, though it may take more time
for new growth to develop.
These cuttings are best made from material having well-developed
buds and healthy, actively growing leaves. Pothos, philodendron,
Jade plant, ivies and most of the plants propagated from stem cuttings
can be propagated this way.
Jane Warner, Ohio State University Extension, 2001
are poisonous! Read and follow all safety precautions on labels.
Handle carefully and store in original containers out of reach
of children, pets or livestock. Dispose of empty containers
immediately, in a safe manner and place. Pesticides should never
be stored with foods or in areas where people eat.
When trade names are used for identification, no product endorsement
is implied, nor is discrimination intended against similar materials.
Be sure that the pesticide you intend to use is registered for
the state of use.
The user of this information assumes all risk for personal injury
or property damage.
information, call the URI CE Gardening and Food Safety Hotline
at 1-800-448-1011 or (401)874-2929 from outside Rhode Island;
Monday-Thursday between 9 am and 2 pm.
of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension provides equal program