A guide to propagating house plants

Propagating house plants is a great way to grow your plant family and turn get a new prickle! Read our guide to learn how.
A guide to propagating house plants

Propagating your houseplants lets you get more for free, and share the plant wealth with your friends, as well as lets your favourite plants to keep growing. Propagation relies on the magical ability of your plants to grow roots from cut stem tips, leaves, and offsets that grow from the adult plant.

There are three main ways to propagate: cutting, division, and replanting offsets. How you propagate houseplants depends on the variety you have. Below we have the three main ways to grow a brand-new plant from your existing one, as well as the easiest house plants to propagate.

Taking stem cuttings

This method is the simplest way to propagate your house plants for new growth. Taking a stem or leaf cutting is easy peasy.

You will need an adult plant that has a good stem and leaf structure, so stem cuttings can be taken for new growth to ensue, ideally, one that has quite a few stems and you've had for a while.

You will need

  • A healthy house plant for stem and leaf cuttings.

  • Scissors or secateurs (make sure they are clean).

  • Potting soil or water, depending on your plant and style.

  • New pots for your baby indoor plants.

How to do it

  1. Pick the leaf you want and clean your sharp knife or scissors.

  2. Cut the stem a little below the node (where one stem meets another).

  3. Plant the stem cutting in soil or water.

  4. Once your cutting has strong roots you can replant it.

Plants like Monstera Deliciosa, the Swiss Cheese plant, cut below a node - the point where multiple stems meet. With a plant like Epipremnum aureum, Devil's Ivy, cut the stem with a few leaves on it below a leaf joint.

Some plants, like the Sansevieria Trifasciata, Snake Plant, need to be left to dry out for a few days before planting in soil, however, it can be placed straight into water. To find out what each house plant likes, check out the individual plant guides for detailed info. If you aren't sure, send us a message to find out the best method to propagate plants.

With any stem cuttings that are in water, once the roots develop and are 5cm or more, you can repot the stem cutting into potting compost or keep it in the water if you like that propagation look. Change up the water every week to keep it fresh and the plant happy.

Additionally, humidity can help your cuttings to root in soil and become new plants faster. A sandwich bag and elastic band can do wonders for new roots.

Sweetheart Plant

Best prickles for stem and leaf cuttings

You can propagate your houseplants using stem cuttings if the adult plant has a good stem structure. These four plants are the best for getting adorable babies using the stem and leaf-cutting method.

Sweetheart Plant

Philodendron Scandens, aka the Sweetheart Plant, is a shade-tolerant climber or trailing plant. You can use any off-shoot stem that has at least one leaf for a cutting. The new plant can go directly into the potting mix and should be kept moist and humid so the roots form healthily, or you can place it into a glass of water for that propagation look that is trending.

Snake Plant

Sansevieria Black Coral, more commonly known as the Black Coral Snake Plant, grows solid leaves, so there is no stem to cut. Instead, carefully cut off a single leaf at the base of the plant and let it dry out for a few days before you get it acquainted with some healthy potting mix.

Fleshy leaves (ones that hold water) need to form a callus over the cut edge before planting. Once they have dried enough to form this, make sure that the entire cut edge is covered with soil when it is planted in its new pot.

Fishbone Cactus

Epiphyllum Anguliger, aka the Fishbone Cactus, can be propagated in either soil or water. Simply remove one long, beautiful leafy stem and allow these to dry for a few days before placing them cut-side down in water or a potting mix.

Remember to cut at an angle to help the stem suck up water!

Devil's Ivy

Epipremnum Aureum, the Devil's Ivy, is a sinfully lovely plant to grow in your home. Propagating it involves snipping a single stem just below a leaf node, then place the stem either directly in water or moist soil.

Fishbone Cactus

Division propagation methods

Division can get a little messy, but it's a fun and easy way to propagate without stem cuttings. This way is a bit messier, you've really got to get into that root ball, so be ready for the cleanup. Many multi-stemmed plants, including Peace Lilies, are best suited to this method of propagation.

You will need

  • New pot(s).

  • Fresh compost and drainage material (like our Shell on Earth).

  • Water and fertiliser to help the roots grow.

How to do it

  1. Wait until your plant needs repotting (ideally Spring or Summer).

  2. Get the plant ready using our guide to repotting.

  3. Before placing one plant in its new home, gently divide the roots.

  4. Pop each of the new plants in a pot with plenty of soil.

  5. Voila, you have a new plant!

This method gets messy, so lay down plenty of newspaper before you begin for easy clean-up. Unlike the cutting method, this propagation method doesn't require the new plants to grow roots from scratch.

When you are dividing the roots, you need to find the natural divisions between the stems. It may take a little patience, but you'll get the hang of it. The roots will be a tangled mess, but with a little time and effort, you can gently part them into separate plants. Try not to break too many roots - though it's nearly impossible to avoid breaking roots altogether.

It's totally up to you if you want to separate into multiple plants, just two plants, or even leave most of the adult plant intact and remove just a small portion of roots and stems.

Once you've separated the root ball, you can pot each plant into its new nursery pot. Give them a good drink of water and some plant food. In a few weeks, they'll all be growing happily.

Best plants for division propagation

The easiest plants for division have multiple stems at the base and a root ball that's easy to divide. Rather than taking new cuttings, the whole plant is divided into smaller plants. This is great if you have a plant you love and want it in a few rooms.

Triostar Prayer Plants

Calathea Stromanthe Triostar, better known as the Triostar Prayer Plant, has vibrant pink leaves and is part of our pet-friendly collection. When the Calathea gets too large for its pot, splitting the stems into smaller groups is a great way to propagate it.

Swiss Cheese Plant

One of the most popular plants, the Monstera deliciosa, aka Swiss Cheese Plant, is fast growing and can quickly take over a space! Propagating this beautiful plant may require detangling it from its moss climbing pole before separating the roots. This plant can also be propagated with stem cuttings and will be happy living in water for the rest of its life. What more could you want?

Blue Star Fern

The Phlebodium Aureum, aka the Blue Star Fern, is a fast grower so repotting may be required sooner rather than later. Once the foliage and roots are separated, repot to give each more space. Place your new fern plants in indirect light to help it thrive.

Blue Star Fern

Propagating offsets from the parent plant

Propagating houseplants is super simple if you have a plant that produces its own offsets! Once separated, these baby plants (sometimes called plantlets) will grow into more plants to brighten your home.

You will need

  • A houseplant with one (or multiple) new babies.

  • A small pot or two for planting the new houseplants.

  • Soil, fertiliser and water to help these new shoots grow.

How to do it

  1. Carefully separate the baby from the mother plant.

  2. Pop the baby in a new, small plant pot with plenty of soil.

  3. Water and fertilise as required.

Make sure that the baby has established some strong roots so that it will survive once separated from the main stem. New plant babies are delicate, so don't remove them before they're ready to grow solo!

We recommended repotting lil' pricks into small nursery pots - roughly 5cm to 6cm in size.

Many cacti and succulents produce offsets, and these tend to be slow growers. You will need to eventually repot each offset as they grow larger.

Best plants to offset propagate with

The easiest houseplants to propagate by removing babies off the main stem include Aloe Vera, Snake Plants, and Curly Spider Plants. Many plants grow offsets, either baby plants or long offshoots.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Barbadensis Miller, known by almost everyone as Aloe Vera, often grows little babies that pop up around the main adult plant. Look for these at the edge of the pot and wait for them to establish strong roots before propagating.

Snake Plants

The Sansevieria Laurentii, also known as the Snake Plant, can grow from the cutting method, but if you wait for babies to grow in the pot, you can propagate these little ones instead and get your own Lil' Prick.

The Snake Plant is one of the most diverse when it comes to propagation, so you can use the method that's easiest for you.

Curly Spider Plants

You'll often see little babies shooting out of the middle of Chlorophytum Bonnie, aka Curly Spider Plant. After snipping off the Spider Plant babies, place them in water until their roots start to grow to a few centimetres. Once it's ready, plant the Lil' Spider Plant into new soil or keep it growing in water.

Blue Star Fern

When to propagate the adult plant

The best time to propagate houseplants, regardless of the method you choose, is in the spring and summer months. In winter many plants go into hibernation, so will struggle to grow strong roots and survive the colder temperatures. If you are regularly feeding your plants, in those warmer months you will find lots of babies growing!

In a bit of a prickle? No problem!

From repotting plants to tailoring care for each individual prick, we can help! Read our Plant Guides, Inspiration, and How To's to learn more. You can find details about growing needs (including how tall and how fast each Lil' Prick should grow) by checking out our full range of plants.

Propagating your houseplants is simple and fun. Are you ready to help your favourite Prickle Plants have friends?

Follow us on social media @prickplantsuk and get some Prickle advice from your plant pros. Need some one-on-one advice? Email us on contact@prickleplants.co.uk. We’re always here to hear you!

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