Home & Garden Trees & Houseplants

What Is the Rooting of Plant Cuttings?

    Rooting Basics

    • Choose only plants with expired patents or for which asexual reproduction is not prohibited. Select cuttings from healthy houseplants anytime, from annuals during or toward the end of their growing season, and from perennials early-to-mid growing season when the new growth has just begun to harden. Clip stems that are 3 to 5 inches long. Leave one or two sets of top leaves on the stem and remove lower leaves and any flowers or buds.

    Potting Rooted Cuttings

    • Prepare a rooting medium that will hold the stem and allow water and air to reach the rooting zone. A mixture of half perlite and half sphagnum peat moss works well; another option is coarse sand mixed with perlite, peat moss or vermiculite. Settle the dampened rooting medium into a 32-ounce plastic yogurt-type container into which drainage holes have been cut along the sides just above the bottom. For plants that may be difficult to root, such as roses, dust the stem end lightly with rooting hormone. Insert 1/3 to 1/2 the stem into a hole made with a pencil in the rooting medium and gently firm the soil around it. Houseplants, some perennials and annuals usually root well without rooting hormone.

    Care for Potted Cuttings

    • Coleus stems root easily.Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

      Water the pots and enclose them in clear plastic bags, such as large zipper storage bags, forming a greenhouse environment for each pot. It is helpful to place the pots on a plastic tray or in a clear plastic bin. Keep the temperature between 60 and 75 degrees F at all times, and place them where they will receive indirect daylight through a sunny window. If the pots become dry they may be watered a small amount. Too much moisture will rot the cuttings. Allow air into the bags by opening them for a few minutes daily.

    Permanent Homes

    • A strong root system will develop in from two weeks to as many as eight weeks. At this time, transplant your new plant into a larger plastic pot with drainage holes. Gently slide the plant out of the old pot and onto a layer of good commercial potting soil in the new pot and fill in with soil. Water well, adding more soil if necessary as the soil settles. Keep all plants indoors until new top growth develops. Garden plants may then be placed outdoors on warm days in a shady spot, bringing them in at night. When the plants develop a full root zone in the soil, plant houseplants into their permanent pots. Plant garden plants outdoors at the appropriate time for your climate zone.



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