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    A Cheapskate's Guide To Propagating Houseplants

    AKA, how to turn one plant baby into many plant babies.

    Sit with me, gentle reader, as I tell you a tale as old as time: That of a cheapskate girl who didn't want to spend any more money buying plants, so she learnt how to propagate them.

    Julia Willing / BuzzFeed

    Spoiler alert, that cheapskate is me.

    Whether you've only just acquired your first plant, or your home is bordering on becoming an indoor nursery, the art of propagation is something every green-thumb wannabe should learn.

    Koonsiri Boonnak / Getty Images

    You can ~breed~ new plants in a few different ways β€” such as root division and soil plantation β€” but the easiest way I've found is through water propagation. So, that's what you'll be learning today.

    Here's everything you should know:

    1. Choose your plants wisely.

    Getty Images / Monstera, Devil's Ivy, Prayer Plant

    Not all plants are suitable for propagation, but the good news is, a whole heap of common household varieties are just perfect for it. Everything from devil's ivy and fiddle leaf figs, to monsteras and prayer plants are suitable for propagation.

    If you have a variety that you're unsure will survive the process, a quick Google search should yield answers. But anything leggy, long and leafy is generally a safe place to start.

    2. Know where to make your cut.

    Julia Willing / BuzzFeed

    You won't be able to propagate any old piece of greenery you just slice off. So, to avoid unnecessary stress on your plant mother, choose your trimmings carefully. What you need to look out for are aerial roots or nodes (the areas right below leaves) and ensure that your cut includes at least one.

    You always want to take your trimmings from areas of new growth on a plant and make your slice just beneath some leaves β€” which you can then strip back to leave only the upper leaves intact. This will allow your trimming to save energy and direct some attention towards growing new roots.

    As for the plant limb you've just severed, don't stress β€” new growth will start again from one of the nodes left elsewhere on the plant.

    3. Set up your propagation station.

    Julia Willing / BuzzFeed

    With your fresh trimmings, you want to remove any leaves very close to the node or aerial root β€” particularly if it's going to mean the leaves will be submerged under water. Then you want to fill a jar or vase with tepid water and place your cuttings within.

    Note: Clear vases will allow you to track the root growth more closely, so opt for old mason jars, large water glasses or any clear glass vessel.

    Next, you should place your vessels in a sweet lil' spot that receives bright-but-indirect light. You want to avoid both intense direct sunlight (that will scorch the wee babies up) and dark corners (where they won't get the necessary vitamin D to survive and thrive).

    4. Learn the virtue of patience.

    Getty Images, Julia Willing / BuzzFeed

    This is the boring, but very necessary waiting game. You've gotta leave your trimmings to just do their thing for the next 4-6 weeks. As the water evaporates, you'll want to refill with fresh h2O, so that the nodes and new roots remain submerged. If there's any signs of murkiness or mildew, tip out the jars and rinse the roots, before replacing with fresh water.

    Depending on your environment, you should see growth within 1-2 months and once your roots reach an inch or longer, they're generally ready to be potted.

    Once you reach this stage, you want to consider transplanting them to soil. If you leave them too long in water, you run the risk of them acclimatising to the jars and becoming water plants β€” which means they may not survive a repotting further down the line.

    5. In the words of the great Christina Aguilera, it's gonna get dirty.

    Getty Images

    Congrats! You've given birth to some beautiful little plant babies, so now it's time to cover them in soil and watch as they grow. Similar, I can only imagine, to how one would raise a child.

    Choose a plant pot with drainage holes (to prevent root rot) and then layer in some fresh potting mix. How much will depend on the size of your trimming and pot, but generally speaking, you want a few inches of soil beneath your fresh roots. Next, carefully place the roots of your trimmings in the pot and gently pat in more soil to surround it.

    All that's left to do is give it a big ol' drink and then place back in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight. You might also consider giving your new greenling a little help along with a small amount of fertiliser.

    6. Watch 'em grow, baby grow!

    Julia Willing / BuzzFeed

    You've put in the hard yards, now all that's left to do is sit back and watch those bad boys grow. Depending on the variety, certain plants will be better suited to different rooms in your home β€” but again, a trusty Google search will guide you best there.

    The best part is, once your new plants start to really take off, you can take trimmings from them and start the whole wonderful process again. Then you can either keep 'em, gift 'em or sell 'em on Facebook Marketplace β€” the world is your proverbial propagating oyster!

    Happy planting!


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