Make More Plants with Cuttings From Your Own House and Garden Plants

  • 01 of 10

    Gather What You’ll Need to Make More Plants with Cuttings

    Rooted Plant Cuttings
    Jacqui Hurst / Getty Images

    You can make more plants from your existing house and garden plants, by taking stem cuttings and rooting them. It sounds intimidating, but it's not. Here’s what you will need, to get started:

    1. An Existing Plant (Mother Plant)
    2. Soilless Potting Mix
    3. Rooting Hormone
    4. Water
    5. Containers or Pots for planting
    6. Containers for holding water and rooting hormone
    7. Razor Blade or Scissor
    8. Alcohol
    9. Pencil or Stick
    10. Plastic Bag
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  • 02 of 10

    Choosing A Plant for Cuttings

    Plants on a Windowsill
    Woong Bae Jeon / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Select a healthy house or garden plant to take the cuttings from. This is referred to as the mother plant. Making plants from cuttings is a way to clone the original mother plant and a very inexpensive way to increase your stock of plants. Plants with non-woody stems are easiest to propagate. The mother plant should be large enough that removing one or more cutting will not harm or kill it.

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  • 03 of 10

    Getting Your Containers Ready for the Cuttings

    Potting Soil
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    Fill a clean plant pot or container with soilless potting mix, to hold the stem cuttings for rooting. A soilless mix drains better than garden soil and achieves a moist, but not wet quality. Additionally, garden soil contains spores and other pathogens that could kill the cutting before it ever takes root.

    You don't need a large container or a lot of potting mix. Once the cuttings take root, you are going to re-pot them anyway.

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  • 04 of 10

    Selecting Stems for Your Plant Cuttings

    Select a Plant Stem for Cutting
    Select a Plant Stem for Cutting. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Choose green, non-woody stems for taking tip cuttings. Newer growth is easier to root than woody stems. You are looking for a stem with a node on it. A node is where a leaf is or was attached. It looks like a joint on the stem and it is where the new roots will come from.

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  • 05 of 10

    Taking the Plant Cuttings

    Taking a Stem Cutting of a Garden Plant
    Taking a Stem Cutting of a Garden Plant. Photo: © Marie Iannotti

    Use a scissor or razor blade that has been sterilized in alcohol to make a clean cut, just below a node. The cutting doesn’t need to be long. A single node with a couple of leaves will be fine. Longer cuttings will just dry out faster.

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  • 06 of 10

    Prepare Your Plant Cuttings for Potting

    Making a Plant Cutting
    © Marie Iannotti

    Place the cutting on a flat, hard surface and make a clean slice through the middle of the node with a sterilized razor blade. Plant stems send our their new roots from the stem nodes. Making the cutting at the node increases your chance of successfully rooting the cutting.

    Remove all but 1 or 2 leaves. The cutting needs some leaf growth to continue photosynthesis, since it can’t take in any food from roots it doesn’t yet have. But too many leaves will just sap energy from its efforts to create...MORE new roots. If the leaves are very large in proportion to the stem, cut the leaves in half.

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  • 07 of 10

    Using Rooting Hormone to Increase Your Chances of Successful Rooting

    Applying Rooting Hormone to a Plant Cutting
    © Marie Iannotti

    Rooting hormone stimulates the plant cutting to begin sending new roots out of a stem node. The hormone is not always necessary for the cutting to root, but it does give it an advantage and increases the success rate of creating new plants. Many plants will even root in plain water, but transferring the water rooted seedling to soil is not always successful.

    Fill a cup or container with water and place some rooting hormone into another container.

    Dip the node end of the plant cutting into the...MORE water and then into the rooting hormone. You won’t need much hormone. Too much rooting hormone can actually lower your success rate, so tap off the excess.

    Don’t return used hormone to the original container. Once it comes in contact with the cuttings, it is activated.

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  • 08 of 10

    Pre-Make Your Planting Holes

    Dibble Holes in Soil.
    Marco Vacca / Getty Images

    Use a pencil or similar pointed object, poke holes into the potting mix. Pre-making holes in the potting mix will insure that the rooting hormone remains on the plant stem cutting and is not wiped off on the soil surface. This will improve the chances that the cuttings will root. (Be prepared for a few to die off, before rooting. It happens.)

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  • 09 of 10

    Potting Up Your Cuttings

    Potting Up a Plant Cutting
    © Marie Iannotti

    Carefully place the cuttings into the holes you made in your potting mix and gently firm the soil around them. You can fit several cuttings into one container, but space them so that the leaves do not touch one another.

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  • 10 of 10

    Creating a Mini Greenhouse to Coddle Your Cuttings

    Keeping Plant Cuttings Moist
    © Marie Iannotti

    Place the container of cuttings into a plastic bag. The bag will keep the humidity high and hold in heat. Don’t seal the bag completely, to allow some air flow.

    Place the bag and container in a warm spot in the house. Don’t put them into full sun until new growth appears. At that point you can take them out of the bag.

    Check regularly to be sure there is not so much condensation on the top of the bag that it is dripping onto the seedlings. If this happens, the potting mix is probably too wet....MORE Allow the potting mix to dry out a bit and then replace the bag.

    Check your cuttings regularly in case they start to rot before they root. Remove any suspect cuttings as soon as you spot trouble.

    Keep the cuttings moist and in a few weeks check for roots by tugging gently on the cuttings and testing for resistance. Once the cuttings have developed roots, they are ready to be removed from the bag and planted into pots of their own.