How to Propagate Plants in Water in Just 3-Easy Steps!

Want free plants? You’ve come to the right place! Propagating plants in water is easy and fun!

In this guide, How to propagate plants in water, you will learn everything you need to know to propagate plants in water in just 3-easy steps!

Propagating plants in water is so easy! As a proud plant mama of over 40 houseplants, I’ve been propagating plants for years, and it’s so much fun!

Using water propagation, you can create new plants from cuttings taken from existing plants in just a few easy steps.

Not only is propagating plants in water easy and a great way to get free plants! So what’s better than free plants?

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propagating plants in water

Here’s everything you need to know about propagating plants in water.

First, choose a healthy plant from which to take your cutting.

Choose a happy and healthy houseplant before you start propagating plants in water. But first, make sure the plant is disease-free and has no pests.

How to find nodes to propagate plants

Nodes are the points on the stem from which leaves grow. They also produce roots when propagating plants in water.

To find nodes, look for small bumps along the stem of your cutting. These bumps are where the leaves are attached to the plant.

You can propagate a plant from any node, but choosing a node close to the top of the cutting is best.

Cutting the plant at the node will give your new plant the best chance of success.

Cut a piece of stem from the mother plant.

Cut a piece of stem from the mother plant at the node using a sharp knife or gardening scissors.

The cutting should be about four inches long and include at least two leaves. Once you have your cutting, remove the bottom leaves so that only the top leaves remain.

These top leaves will eventually become the new plant’s first true leaves.

Now it’s time to place your cutting in the water.

Find a jar or glass that is deep enough to accommodate your cutting length. Fill the container with water and place your cutting inside.

When propagating plants in water, use clean, filtered water.

Make sure the stems of your cuttings are fully submerged in water. Again, using clean, filtered water for this step is essential.  

Tools you’ll need when propagating plants in water

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Now, all you have to do is wait!

Propagating plants in water can require a little bit of patience! Some plants take longer to root than others!

Keep an eye on your cutting and add more water to submerge the stem. Place the plant cutting in a sunny window.

You’ll see new roots start to grow in just a few weeks.

Once the roots are at least an inch long, you can transplant your new plant into the soil.

how to propagate plants in water

How to transplant your propagated plant into the soil:

Use a root stimulator to help cuttings grow.

A root stimulator is not required when planting rooted cutting but is a great way to encourage strong, healthy root growth on your propagated plants.

You can find root stimulators at your local garden center or nursery. Follow the instructions on the package and apply as directed.

Use good quality potting soil to transplant your cuttings.

When planting your newly propagated plant, it’s essential to use high-quality potting soil.

Potting soil is specially formulated to provide the nutrients, and drainage potted plants need to thrive.

Use a pot with proper drainage.

Make sure to use a pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Propagated plants will not do well if left sitting in waterlogged soil.

If you’re using a decorative pot without drainage holes, add a layer of rocks or gravel to the bottom before adding your potting mix and plant.

Water regularly

Keep your propagated plant watered, especially during the hot summer.

When watering, apply water directly to the soil, not the leaves. 

It’s essential to place your newly propagated plant in a sunny window.

Propagated plants need at least six hours of sunlight each day.

If you cannot provide enough natural light, consider using grow lights to supplement the light your propagating plant receives.

Fertilize monthly

Don’t forget to fertilize your newly propagated plant! 

Fertilizing your new plant baby will help promote healthy growth and prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Use the best fertilizer for houseplants and apply according to the directions.

It’s best to fertilize every two weeks during the growing season and once a month during the winter.

Related article: The best fertilizer for happy + healthy plants

Extras: Clay pebbles+ Sphagnum moss

Propagating plants in water using clay pebbles

You can also propagate plants in water using clay pebbles.

To do this, fill a container with clay pebbles and place your cutting on top. Next, fill the container with water to wet the clay pebbles.

Place the container in a bright spot from direct sunlight and moisten the clay pebbles by adding water.

You’ll see new roots start to grow in just a few weeks. 

Once the roots are about an inch long, you can transplant your new plant into the soil or its permanent home.

leca clay pebbles for houseplants

Benefits of using clay pebbles

The benefits of using clay pebbles when propagating plants in water are that they provide extra aeration to the roots and help to keep the water clean.

Clay pebbles help keep the cutting stable in its new container while rooting.

Clay pebbles are also reusable so that you can use them repeatedly.

Related: How to use Clay Pebbles to Propagate Plants

Sphagnum moss is another excellent option for propagating plants.

To use sphagnum moss when propagating plants in water, soak it in water until thoroughly saturated. Then, squeeze out excess water and place the moss in a container.

Make a hole in the center of the moss and insert your cutting.

Keep the moss moist by misting it with water every few days.

The benefits of using sphagnum moss when propagating plants

There are many great ways to use sphagnum moss when propagating plants.

Sphagnum moss retains moisture well and provides a supportive environment for growing roots. Sphagnum moss is also sterile, so it’s less likely to harbor diseases.

propagating plants in water-pothos

Best plants to propagate in water:


Propagating Pothos is so easy! Pothos is one of the easiest plants to propagate, and they root relatively quickly.

Find the nodes and cut just below the node to propagate a pothos.

Monstera plant

Monstera plants are so easy to propagate! Find the node, cut the stem, and add to water! In my experience, Monstera plants root very fast! I usually leave them in the water for a month or so.

Remember to refresh their water often.

Fiddle leaf fig

Fiddle leaf figs are more challenging to propagate than other plants on this list, but it’s possible!

To propagate a fiddle leaf fig, start by taking a cutting that is about six inches long. Next, remove the bottom leaves and place the cutting in a glass of water.

You’ll need patience with this one, as the roots can take several weeks to grow. 

Once the roots are about an inch long, you can transplant your new plant into the soil or its permanent home.

Snake plant

Propagating a snake plant can take a long time, so be patient! It can take several months for the roots to grow.

Once the seeds are about an inch long, you can transplant your new plant into the soil or its permanent home.

Other plants that are easy to propagate are the Rubber plant dracaena and the peace lily.

Outdoor plants that grow from cuttings in water

  • inpatients
  • coleus
  • geraniums
  • ivy

That’s it! Now you know how to propagate plants in water.

Give propagating plants a try and see how easy it is to get free plants. 

With patience, you will have a beautiful collection of happy, healthy houseplants for little money before you know it.

Houseplants make lovely gifts too!

So what are you waiting for? 

Get propagating!

XO, Christine

Do you have any tips for propagating plants? Could you share them in the comments below?

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