CO-Horts Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Exercise Your Green Thumb

Posted by:  Amy Lentz, Weld County Extension

Mother nature is really testing gardeners this winter by teasing us with this long stretch of summer-like weather, making it hard to resist the temptation of going out in the yard and planting something!  

One way to exercise your green thumb in the off season is by propagating house plants. Last month, Sherie Caffey wrote a fantastic blog titled Adventure in Propagation about this very subject!  So for this blog, I thought I would expand on this to show you a few additional species that are easy to propagate at home with no addition of rooting hormone or special conditions...just using a slightly different planting system.

When I moved to Colorado last summer, I decided that I would donate my houseplants to the university nearby rather than try to transport them across the country in a moving truck. I am glad that they are being put to good use to educate others, however, once here, I began to miss some of my old plants. So when I went back on a trip last fall, I just had to drop by the university's greenhouse and take a few cuttings to bring back to Colorado. I decided to choose the easiest species to propagate so that they would successfully make the journey back. 

Tropical Plant Collection at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky.

 After taking the cuttings I put them in a simple plastic bag with a small amount of water, just like Sherie recommends in her blog. I left them in the bag for about a week with the top slightly open and making sure they didn't dry out.

My new collection includes the following easy-to-propagate houseplants:

Purple Wandering Jew (Zebrina pendula)
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)
Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia). 
Jade Tree (Crassula argentea)

The Wandering Jew is a vigorous grower, so I decided to go straight into a larger container, knowing that in a few months the three cuttings will have filled that container and be ready for an even bigger one. They are super easy and will grow rapidly, so give these guys their own space.

After just a week in the plastic bag with water, the roots were already very visible!

I stripped off the bottom two sets of leaves and planted them into their new pot.

Everything else went into the same shallow terracotta dish, but any shallow container with drainage will do. Because these are easy to propagate species, you don’t have to worry about using a special propagation mix.

I spaced the various cuttings in the dish (including the pieces that had fallen off the succulent cuttings), planted them and watered them well. Using what I had on hand, I found a couple of plastic spoons to use as a support for my homemade humidity tent that was made from self-sealing plastic wrap. I placed the dish in indirect sunlight by placing them on my kitchen counter near the window. Do not put them in direct sunlight as it will bake the poor cuttings!


I kept the potting mix moist, watering every other day, and then came the hard part...waiting! After about 10 weeks, I checked the cuttings to make sure they had rooted by lightly pulling up on the plant to see if there was resistance…and there was!  

Look at those roots!


The Jade Plant decided that it would be super slow, so I dug it out with a decent amount of potting mix around the cutting and transferred that to a new container.

Everything was potted into individual containers using the same type of standard potting mix followed by a good watering. Voila! All done!

Front row (left to right): Golden Pothos, Ghost Plant, Jade Plant. Back row (left to right): Baby Rubber Plant and Variegated Baby Rubber Plant

By the way, that Wandering Jew that I had potted up back in October...well let's just say it's pretty happy!

A week later, and all of my new houseplants are enjoying their new home in my kitchen window.

 So, give it a try! Propagating these houseplants was pretty simple and definitely fun!

1 comment:

  1. Wow...I really should give other houseplants a try--I just love how easy my snake plants are to grow! I'm such an inconsistent waterer. I tend to kill with neglect, as opposed to kindness. Great post!