Rooting Plants -
Teaching Your Plants to Walk!

Rooting plants is what you do to ensure your plant cuttings grow roots. I like thinking of it as teaching your plant cuttings to walk! Making cuttings is a good, fun and cheap way to reproduce or 'propagate' plants. You can do this naturally or by using a special rooting hormone or rooting compound.

Rooting Materials

A rooting material or medium is what you use in place of soil to root cuttings.

There are several options available including:


How to Root

Basically, you have two main choices -- water or a growing/rooting medium such as those in the list above. Although water has been used since the year dot, I prefer using a rooting medium. The roots that grow when a plant is rooted in water tend to be soft and weak, more adapted to water than soil.

Steps to follow:

  1. Make a cutting of the desired plant with a sharp blade. Make sure that you include one growth node in the cutting. A node is the shoot off the side of the stem.
  2. Take the leaves off the first node (the node you're going to put in the rooting medium).
  3. If you're using rooting compound or rooting hormone, follow the instructions on the pack.
  4. Plant the cutting into the rooting material.
  5. Compact the rooting material near the base of the cutting to give it some firm support.
  6. Once the plant seems to have a healthy root system developing, carefully transfer the plant into a new pot filled with fresh potting soil. Make sure the new pot has been cleaned with a cleaning agent or if clay, heated to a high heat in the oven for a short time to kill off bacteria!

Cover cuttings in plastic bags to increase humidity (but keep out of direct sunlight).

Care

While a plant is rooting, put it in a partially shaded area of your house. 50% light or dappled light should prevent the cutting from drying out. Cuttings need to be kept moist.

After transferring a rooted cutting into a pot, you should water the plant a little more (not too much more) than you usually would so that the roots can establish themselves. Do this for a couple of days then return to the normal watering cycle.

Rooting plants from cuttings is a fun way to share plants with your friends. It's amazing to see a plant propagated in this way! Enjoy!

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