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How To Use Cuttings to Propagate Your Plants

Cuttings are easily one of the most simple ways there are to propagate your plants. All this requires are trimmers or scissors, a container, and either water or soil!

Tools You Will Need

Water Propagation

Soil Propagation

What Are Cuttings?

Cuttings are simply a piece of a plant which has been cut off of the parent plant. Most often cuttings are taken for pruning or propagation purposes.

How to Cut

First, you want to be sure that the plant you are taking cuttings from can be propagated by cuttings. One of the easiest ways to be sure (other than a quick google) is to check the stems for nodes. Nodes are little bumps along the plant stem. Further, these bumps often appear hard or calloused and sometimes feature small calloused looking stems. If you do not see these nodes, double-check google to see if your plant can be cutting propagated.

If your plant can be propagated with cuttings, then you want to be sure that the plant is mature enough and healthy enough to handle losing some of its leaves. This is not something easily taught, you must be familiar enough with your plant to know. Some research on the hardiness of your plant may be useful

Next, you want to be sure that the section you are cutting includes nodes and at least one leaf. For a better chance at root development, include multiple nodes or leaves. You want to be sure that you are trimming the stem between the nodes in what is called the internode. You can read more about plant nodes HERE.

How to Care For Your Cuttings

Now that you’ve taken your cuttings you have to decide how you want to propagate the cutting. Two common options are in water or in soil. Both methods have pros and cons. Many people choose water propagation so that they can view the roots as they grow.

Water Propagation

If you want to use water to propagate your cuttings, fill your container of choice with room temperature, filtered water. You then plop the cutting into the water. You want to be sure the leaves are out of the water, but the nodes are covered. This may mean you need to trim off a leaf or two. Be sure you leave at least one leaf–preferably two.

If you would like, you can use a rooting hormone to help your plant root faster.

The final step is to wait. Some plants will root quickly and others may take a long time. so long as the plant does not look dead, the cutting is doing fine. All you need to do to keep the cutting healthy is to change out the water regularly. I recommend changing the water weekly, though you can change it less frequently so long as it appears clean. Do not be afraid to add water if it is evaporating quickly. You want to be sure the nodes remain covered.

Once roots have formed you can choose to keep your plant in the water, or pot it is soil. Be sure to keep the soil moist without overwatering to help the cutting adjust to the soil. Some people recommend slowly adding some soil to the water to help the plant adjust. This is up to you and differs by the plant.

Soil Propagation

If you have chosen to propagate your cutting in soil, then you want to be sure you have good soil and a small container. You do not want to use a large container as this could cause rot from too much un-used moisture. Next, you want to fill your pot with the soil and plant the cutting in the dirt. Be sure that the nodes are covered by soil but the leaves are not. This may require you cut some of the leaves. Just be sure that there is still a leaf or two on the cutting. Additionally, you can add multiple cuttings to the same pot if you choose.

The next step is to water your cutting. You want to be sure that the soil remains moist until the plant has rooted. Be sure not to leave the soil too moist to avoid root rot. Once the roots are more established, follow the watering and care guidelines for your particular plant and watch it flourish.