How to - Techniques

Propagate houseplants using leaf cuttings

Simple steps to filling your home with the houseplants you love

Place tray in an area with bright indirect light or under grow lights at a temperature between 18 and 21°C. Mist plants lightly several times a day to maintain a high humidity level while new growth is being initiated. Keep the mixture moist, but not wet.

propagating-houseplants-4.jpg5. In five to six weeks, new plantlets (typically one to three) will appear at the soil surface, having developed from the surface of the cut petiole; leave them attached for a further four to five weeks until they can be handled easily and have generated their own roots.

Snap off plantlets from the leaf cutting (or remove them with a sharp knife or one-sided razor blade) and pot them up in individual seven- to 10-centimetre pots; feed them with an all-purpose liquid plant fertilizer, such as 20-20-20, at one-quarter strength. These may be moved to a full-sun location if required by the specimen. Plants that have grown four to six new leaves are ready to transplant. 

Easy houseplants to propagate

  • Flame violets (Episcia cupreata cvs.)
  • Wax plants (Hoya carnosa cvs.)
  • Peperomias (Peperomia caperata cvs.)
  • African violets (Saint­paulia cvs.)
  • Begonias (Begonia spp. and cvs., except B. rex)

Illustrations by Cybèle Young


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