Getting starts from one of your houseplants is also called propagation. Propagation is very much like helping your plants to have babies because you take a piece from the plant, replant it, and it grows up to a new adult plant.
Step 1: Determine what type of plant you are dealing with.
There are different propagation techniques for different plants. For example, a spider plant is propagated differently than ivy, which is propagated differently than a rubber plant. You can look your particular plant up online to see how to best propagate the plant (if propagation is even possible). If there are no specific directions for starting a new plant, go ahead and follow these generic instructions.
Step 2: Cut a portion off of the plant.
The portion of the plant you cut should include some of the stem and at least one node that leaves are growing out of. Looking at your plant, it might make sense to cut it in one place or another. Plants like the Christmas cactus you can just break off a few pieces. For spider plants, you take one of the obvious “babies” that grow from the parent plant. For plants like ivies, you will need to take a nice piece of vine that has leaves growing from it. If you have questions, try cutting a couple of different sized pieces and seeing which, if any, grows.
Step 3: Place the cut portion in water.
You can use regular tap water for this step, or you can use a little bit of nitrogen to help the plant to grow. It is best if you place the starter in some sort of a see-through container so that you can tell what is happening with the roots. You want to see some sign of growth from the cut portion of the plant. If you don’t see any growth in a week’s time, there is probably something wrong and you might want to start over. Not all plants need to go into water before being planted but most do. If the roots start to rot in water, your plant might do better by being placed directly in the soil (step 4).
Step 4: Place the little plantlet in soil.
Once the roots have started to grow it is time to place the little plant in some potting soil. You should use high quality potting soil for this step because, like a little baby, the little plant needs to be nourished so that it can grow properly. The first couple of weeks that the plant is establishing itself is a critical time. Be sure that the plant gets plenty of sunlight and water. Growing the starters in a windowsill is usually a good idea. Also, make sure that you plant the new plant in a container that can drain. You will be watering the new plant often but you don’t want to rot the roots by making it sit in stagnant, wet soil.
Tips and warnings
Remember that not all plants are easy to propagate. Try to get information about your particular plant before beginning the process. This will save you time and frustration if your plant is not prone to propagation.
Also, remember that the principle behind propagation is that plants regrow missing parts. In order to grow roots, the plant should be missing some part of a stem or a vine.
You might want to start learning about plant propagation with easy-to-start plants like spider plants or ivy.
Learn how to propagate some common houseplants at Myra-Simon Houseplants
Learn to propagate general houseplants at Garden Advice