Make Babies! (Plants, That Is…)
try your hand at the easiest propagation method around
Want to make babies? No, this isn’t a proposition: this is an invitation to propagate plants using nothing fancier than a knife and a jar of water. Oh, and a plant, of course!
There are rafts of interesting plants – annuals, perennials and shrubs – that are exceptionally easy to root in water. Simply cut off a piece of the mother plant just below a leaf node, snip off those lower leaves, and stick the cutting in water.
It’s incredibly gratifying, fun and – best of all – a totally free way to make more plants for your garden. Got kids around? They’ll love it.
Here are some of my favorite, fool-proof plants that can be propagated in jars of water:
- — Mint-family plants including mint (a hardy perennial), coleus (tender), Plectranthus (tender), and basil (tender).
- — Fuchsia (tender or hardy perennial shrub, depending on variety)
- — Cape fuchsia (Phygelius) (hardy perennial shrub)
- — Willow (Salix) (hardy perennial shrub or tree)
- — Impatiens (tender)
- — Tradescantia (tender trailing plant)
- — Ivy and zonal geranium (Pelargonium) (half-hardy to tender)
- — Pothos (tender houseplant)
- — Peperomia (tender houseplant)
HOW TO DO IT:
- Place a jar of water in a warm, bright location, preferably near a sink (to remind you to top up the water regularly).
- Use a clean, sharp blade to cut healthy cuttings about 4-6" in length, directly below a leaf node. Choose stems with a short distance between leaf nodes and remove the lower pair of leaves.
- Keep the first node or two at the base submerged in water.
- Rooting can begin within a week or in several weeks. Plant as soon as roots are an inch or so long – longer roots grown in water can have trouble rooting in soil.