I have become obsessed with propagation. I’d say at least 25% of the surface area of my front room and hallway has been taken up by currently rooting, or already potted up propagations of plants I already owned, or clippings I have acquired from fellow Plant Parents.
I’m doing some water propagation and some soil. My plan is to have a bunch of water propagations ready to pot up come the spring, and so far I’m getting quite a collection, although I am having trouble keeping my hands off of them! I just want to pot them and have them be little plants already, but alas, I must wait. Speaking of waiting, while you might think it takes less patience to do soil propagation (and in a way you’re right, because you kind of skip a step?) waiting long enough to do a tug test that doesn’t like… completely pull out your cutting, and waiting for those little shoots to appear feels like it takes YEARS.
I’ve found the best course of action is the set it and forget it technique. The first soil propagation I did was three stems of Watermelon Peperomia. I plopped them into a 4” plastic pot and watered it when it was close to dry, and well, waited.
I cannot tell you the number of times I tug-tested just to have the stem pop out of the soil with no signs of roots. Its possible that me disturbing it and yanking it out of its soilly home damaged what roots were starting, or even stunted the progress of developing them, but it was getting discouraging. So I turned my attentions elsewhere, thinking it was a lost cause.
Fast forward to a month later—I had continued to water the little peperomia stems, because the cuttings themselves still looked like they were alive and functioning, but I wasn’t really expecting the propagation to be successful. I had even taken another stem from the mother plant and stuck it in water to see if that would have better luck. Anyway, one day about two months after I had planted it, I thought I’d give the tug test a try again. This time, it didn’t move. I tentatively tried the other two stems. They too were rooted firmly in place.
Excited, I popped that baby in prime window-sill real-estate and gave it a little drink. Figuring it was doing pretty good on relative neglect, I proceeded to relatively neglect it again.
Fast forward another couple months, and my little peperomia has had BABIES!!! There are itty bitty peperomias poking their little heads out of the soil. I’m so excited for them to grow up into proper stems and for the little pot to fill out and look like an actual plant one would get from a greenhouse.
As for that water propagated stem I spoke of earlier—it was a bit of a set it and forget it ordeal as well. I discovered it again when I was cleaning up a soil spill, and found that not only did it have roots, but tiny baby watermelons starting at the base of the stem!
Its so exciting to see new plants form from cuttings, and while I must wait to pot them up until the spring (at least that’s when I think they’ll stand the best chance of transitioning to soil) I’ll share with you what projects are on the go and how well they’re coming along.
Peperomia ruffle “Pink Lady”
Philodendron Lemon Lime
Peperomia “Green Bean”
Philo cordatum lemon lime