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Propagating plants in water: Free houseplants in just 3 easy steps!

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Want free plants? If so, you’ll love this easy guide on propagating plants in water.

Propagating plants in water is so easy. 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, but it’s also a great way to get free plants.

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 were attached to the plant.

You can propagate a plant from any node, but it’s best to choose a node close to the top of the cutting.

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.

Using a sharp knife or pair of gardening scissors, cut a piece of stem from the mother plant at the node.

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, it’s essential to use clean, filtered water for this step.  

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 keep the stem submerged. 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 right balance of nutrients and drainage that 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 of the pot before adding your potting mix and plant.

Water regularly

Be sure to keep your propagated plant watered, especially during the hot summer months.

When watering, be sure to apply water directly to the soil and not on 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 is receiving.

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 months.

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 out of direct sunlight and keep the clay pebbles moist 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.

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.

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 any 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 a couple of great benefits to using sphagnum moss when propagating plants.

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

Best plants to propagate in water:

Pothos

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 water for a month or so.

Remember to refresh their water often.

Fiddle leaf fig

Fiddle leaf figs are more challenging to propagate than some 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 to be patient with this one, as it can take several weeks for the roots 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 roots 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
propagating plants in water

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 very little money before you know it.

Houseplants make lovely gifts too!

So what are you waiting for? 

Get propagating!

XO, Christie

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

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