Wednesday, May 12, 2021
May 12, 2021

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Gardening With Allen: Plant starts easy way to share flora


I would like to share some of my special indoor plants with friends and relatives without buying plants. I have friends who take starts from their indoor plants. Could you explain how this is done?

Many common house plants can be easily started or propagated from stem cuttings from an existing plant. Others can be propagated by digging up a small division.

Almost all trailing plants can be propagated by cuttings. Philodendrons, Devil’s Ivy, Creeping Charlie, Swedish Ivy, and Wandering Jew are all easily started from stem cuttings. New roots are formed at the joints or nodes where leaves are attached.

The best cuttings are the tips or ends of vines, although most will also root from an inner piece or section. Cut off several pieces with at least three nodes and trim just below a node. Then remove the leaves from the bottom node. Place three or more cuttings into new potting soil in 4- to 6-inch-diameter pots. The bottom nodes should be covered with soil. In some cases you can slant cuttings so that two or three nodes are covered with leaves sticking above the soil.

Water thoroughly and place a clear plastic bag over the cuttings. Use a rubber band to fasten the bag tightly to the pot. The bag keeps the cuttings moist so they do not wilt. Place pots where they will receive strong indirect light such as beside a window. Direct sunlight may raise the temperature inside the plastic bag too high. Add water to the soil if it begins to dry on top.

Most cuttings will form new roots within two weeks. After they have roots, the plastic bag can be removed. As soon as cuttings have developed two sets of new leaves, pinch off the tips just above a leaf. This encourages branching.

Cuttings can also be rooted in a glass or jar of water. It is easier to see when new roots have formed. They should also be covered with a plastic bag. After cuttings are well-rooted, they can be planted into pots.

Upright growing plants which develop new shoots from below the soil can be divided. A plant can be divided when it has developed several shoots which have their own attached roots. One or more of these shoots or plantlets can be separated by digging down and cutting them where they are attached to other shoots. Use a hand trowel or large spoon to dig out the plantlet with its attached roots and soil. It is sometimes easier to turn the plant upside down and remove it from the pot before dividing.

The easiest division is to simply cut the plant into two or three pieces with attached roots. Then repot the pieces into their own pots with additional soil.