Growing houseplants is a wonderful year-round activity for everyone. Gardeners love being able to nurture plants during the cold seasons, and others can’t help but enjoy the fresh air and beauty houseplants bring into a home. And once you start indoor gardening, you ‘re sure to want to share your hobby with friends and family. Luckily, many of the most popular houseplants are simple to propagate through division or rooting cuttings, and the new plants make wonderful DIY gifts.
The easiest houseplants to share are those that produce plantlets or pups, that is, small new plants that grow up attached to the mother plant.
1. Spider Plant
In the case of the popular spider plant, the plantlets grow at the end of the plant’s leggy tendrils. Simply snip the baby spider plant away from the mother and bury its roots in moist potting mix in a container with drainage holes in the bottom. Keep watered until the new plant takes root and starts to grow, then raise as you would any spider plant.
2. Pilea, the Sharing Plant
Pups of the pilea species appear at the base of the mother plant rather than at the end of a branch. To start a new plant, follow the stem about 1/2 inch under the soil and slice the baby plant away with a sharp knife. From that point, treat the plantlet as you would a baby spider plant.
Aloe is another plant that produces pups at its base. The best way to separate them from their mother is to pull the entire plant gently out of its pot, knock excess dirt off its roots, and carefully cut away the pup, replanting them both in separate pots with good drainage and filled with potting mix formulated for succulents. Aloe, like many succulents, can also be propagated through leaf cuttings, however the high moisture content of the aloe leaf, which makes it prone to rot when left in soil to root, renders the pup-planting method the better choice.
4. Easter Cactus
The popular and stunning, Easter cactus, is a great candidate for reproducing through its leaves. Twist or cut two or three of its leaf segments out, let dry for two to three days, then insert them, cut side down, into a high quality succulent potting mix.
5. Opuntia, the Prickly Pear Cactus
The opuntia or prickly pear cactus can be propagated in much the same manner as the Easter cactus. In this case, though, you’ll want to use heavy gloves to avoid getting pricked. Remove a pad from the plant and then proceed as with the Easter cactus, substituting a fast-draining cactus potting mix for the succulent potting mix (some mixes are formulated for both).
Houseplant Propagation from Cuttings
You can propagate many other favorite houseplants through cutting.
- Take four to six inches of healthy stem.
- Pinch off any leaves in the first inch or two from the end.
- Place it in water to root.
Once that happens, usually in four to six weeks, you can replant the new plants in a pot filled with potting soil formulated for houseplants. Or, start with the pot of soil and insert the newly-cut stem in to root underground. Whichever method you use, make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom.
A list of houseplants that can be propagated from cuttings placed in soil, or in water, includes:
2. Heart-leaf Philodendron
3. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
4. Wandering Jew
5. Butterfly Plant
Houseplant Propagation by Dividing
You can share many of these same plants through division. This is an especially good method for any of your houseplants that are starting to look overcrowded and need to be repotted.
- Remove the entire plant from its container.
- Knock off dirt from the roots.
- Slowly tease apart a fourth to half of the plant, doing your best not to tear the roots.
- Replant both parts for two new plants, one for you and one to share!
Sharing a new houseplant grown from the clippings or division of one of your own is a personal and unique gift for any occasion. You can even get your kids in on the present by having them paint the pot that holds your present.