Turn a few plants into a lot of plants with three excellent propagation techniques.
Guest presenter Craig Miller-Randle shares easy propagation methods for a range of indoor plants.
Some plants grow with underground rhizomes or bulbs that can simply be pulled or cut apart. Dracaena ‘Moonshine’ (also known as Sansevieria) can be propagated in this way and is very hardy due to the water storage capacity of the rhizome. Make sure to pull apart clumps that have their own roots already growing. Repot each clump into a new pot with fresh potting mix. Water in but allow the top few centimetres to dry out before watering again. Other indoor plants that can be divided in this way include Zanzibar Gem, Spider Plant, and Calathea.
Lots of indoor plants can be propagated by taking cuttings, such as syngoniums. Use sharp and clean secateurs to make a cut about 1 centimetre below a node. Cuttings can be placed in water before potting up but shouldn’t be left more than a few weeks as there are no nutrients, and it will be more prone to bacterial and fungal infections. The roots formed in water are different to the roots formed in soil, so the roots will take a while to re-establish when it goes into soil. When ready to plant, dip the end of the cutting into a hormone gel or powder. This seals the wound and stimulates the plant to start growing roots. Craig plants cuttings directly into small pots of perlite which drains freely and has space for roots to grow comfortably.
Cuttings are vulnerable at this stage, so keep an eye on them! To stop the perlite drying out quickly and to increase humidity, Craig suggests popping a plastic bag over the cutting, tied around the pot. Remove the bag once a week to release excess humidity. Place them in a bright, warm spot out of direct sunlight. It can take a few months but eventually you’ll see new roots poking out the bottom of the pot, and that means it’s ready to be potted into soil mix.
Air layering is a useful method, especially for aroids and climbers such as Satin Pothos which produces aerial roots on stems. Simply place a new pot of soil next to the plant and pin down a long stem down with a node just under the soil, to encourage it to take root. Once it has developed roots, you’ve got a new plant! Craig plants these back into the mother plant’s totem to achieve a lush look that appears to be a single plant.
Craig demonstrates another air layering method for plants with less flexible stems or that have grown too tall, which takes the potting media to the plant:
What you need
Small, clear plastic pot
Rooting hormone powder
What to do
Cut a clear plastic pot in half from top to bottom
Brush rooting hormone powder on aerial root buds on the stem
Close both halves of the pot around the stem and tape it in place
Pack the pot with perlite
Wrap the pot with cling wrap to keep moisture in and seal any holes
Over a few weeks the plant will be triggered into producing new aerial roots. Once you can see the roots through the clear pot, you can cut the stem off the mother plant, and put it into a new pot.
Snake Plant Dracaena trifasciata ‘Moonshine’ syn. Sansevieria trifasciata cv.
Dracaena trifasciata is an environmental weed in some parts of Australia
Zanzibar Gem Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Calathea Calathea ‘White Fusion’
Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum Cv.
Chlorophytum comosum is an environmental weed in some parts of Australia
Syngonium Syngonium podophyllum ‘Batik’
Satin Pothos Scindapsus pictus
Filmed on Boon Wurrung & Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country
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