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Hydroponic Plant Propagation for Beginners

If you’re new to growing, or have a few plants you’d like to reuse, propagation is a great thing to learn. 

It can feel a little tedious to start with, and definitely sounds more complicated than it is, which is why we’re going to share this beginner’s guide to help you get started. Propagation doesn’t always work, and effects may vary in different plant species. However, if at first you don’t succeed, try again, as they say!

Preparing for Plant propagation

Most plants are propagated in potting soil, but if you’re more interested in hydroponics, there are some plants that can be propagated in just water. Theses tend to be Aroid species that originate from swamps or areas where flooding is common. The plants are more able to adapt to wetter conditions, meaning it’s possible to grow them entirely in water alone. Examples of hydroponic plants are ZZ plants, Propagation and philodendrons. However, while they can survive in water, it’s best to eventually pot them in soil for the longer term. 

In terms of equipment for the propagation process, you’ll need a plant (of course), scissors or gardening pruners, a glass vessel and some gloves. The gloves are just there to ensure no bacteria or germs get in the way. 

How to propagate a plant? 

The key to propagation is finding the small brown root nodes on the stems of the plants. These nodes can typically be found on the more mature stems or vines and are usually below the leaves and will create the roots for our new plant. Cut off a few of the nodes, as well as 2—3 inches of healthy stem attached to it. 

Then, remove any leaves that are too close to the node, or any that will end up submerged when placing the cutting in the new vessel. 

You can now put your snipping into the glass vessel that’s filled with water. The node and the bottom of the stem should be actually in the water, while any additional foliage will sit above. The jar, vase or jiffy pellet should then be placed within bright indirect sunlight. It’s much better to use indirect light, rather than direct sunlight or shady areas. 

The final, and most important step of the propagation process is patience: Keep an eye on your cutting to check for new roots on a weekly basis and add fresh water when it’s needed. You won’t necessarily have to empty and refill the water entirely, but topping up the water will keep things growing. It’s also important to make sure no fungi or murkiness is developing. 

Growing your cuttings in water 

For hydroponic fans, there is the option to keep your cutting growing in water indefinitely, however the water will need to be replaced regularly and boosted with a little fertilizer. As waster has no real nutritional value, your plants could begin to wither or deteriorate if they’re left to fend for themselves in old water. And, stagnant water opens your plants up to a higher chance of fungal infestation. 

Add fertilizer every month to encourage stronger and happier growth. 

Moving your cutting from water to soil 

As mentioned above, it is often better to move your cutting into potting soil for the long term. We recommend allowing your cutting to grow roots at least an inch long before moving it to its new home. Generally, roots will take around 4-6 weeks to grow to this length

You can then plant the roots into the potting mix. Douse the mix with room temperature water and then let it dry out between the next watering. Your plant can be then placed in bright, but indirect sunlight. 

So, while the word sounds pretty complicated, the process is actually really simple. You should always research into the right techniques for your specific plant, as there may not be any nodes available to clip. If you need any help regarding the process, which fertilizers to use or our recommendations, don’t hesitate to get in touch!