What could be better than more plants? More free plants! Propagating is no less than creating new life. It is fun, I get more plants, and it stimulates new growth on the original plant. Of course, it can be daunting, especially for a beginner like me, but trying is the best path to winning. Below are some of my propagation stories and some tips to make your own free and lovely plants.
1. Persian Shield
Look at the purple of these leaves. Father has a couple of small plants growing and I thought I could use one as well. I took three cuttings and propagated them in water. Only one survived the transplant! I was heartbroken. But such is life so take lots of cuttings if possible.
Our surviving persian shield now lives in the balcony where it has lots of indirect sun with its other plant friends. It likes consistently moist soil but I allow mine to dry a little to meet the houseplant weekend watering schedule. It does not seem to mind so far.
2. Alocasia Amazonica
I have pined over the alocasia amazonica and its beautiful arrowhead leaves since I saw it on Instagram and I finally got one from a stranger!
This is from a root division, a gorgeous growth from a mature plant. We just passed by it while driving, and as previously suggested, do not be afraid to ask plant lovers for plants. The result is often a free plant.
3. Syngonium Coral
My sister brought home three pink plants without any idea what they are or how to care for them. I planted them in the garden, only to realize they are indoor plants.
Luckily, I planted two of the syngonium in a shady spot so they are doing okay. One is hit by direct morning light, and interestingly, it quickly vined heading for shade!
I propagated the vine, cut between nodes, and made another free syngonium coral plant. It took about four weeks for the cuttings to root, and they are currently not very pink in soil, but I still like them.
4. Golden Pothos
If you are propagating for the first time, pick philodendrons because they are likely to live and boost your confidence in making free plants. I have propagated many in water: just cut between nodes, remove any leaves that will be submerged to prevent rot, and stick them in a bottle with water. Change the water as often as you can. I change mine once every two weeks and my plants are fine.
This golden pothos though is the first I propagated in soil. 100% success rate. I stuck as many cuttings as I could in the pot so the plant looks lush and happy. But also to anticipate for casualties, which did not happen so life is great!
This beauty is from my father’s plant growing in his backyard pond. It was from a root division, and it was so tiny when I got it! It was supposed to go to my youngest sister but the dog tripped her and the small pot faceplanted on the floor. The entire caladium was squashed!
I thought it was going to die. But no, the accident plant is well and alive and enjoying the tiny house life with us. I could very well root divide it now to make more free caladium plants but I like how full it looks so I am delaying it for now.
6. Whale’s Fin
I have plenty of wonderful snake plants but the whale’s fin is a beast. You see that on a house and it immediately makes an impact. To propagate this, you just divide the roots and stick your new plant in soil.
The whale’s fin is most dramatic as a single enormous leaf in its own pot. I have yet to do it because I had an accident the first day we moved my plant here and I still have anxiety touching it. I am trying to water propagate the cut leaf parts since a month now but nothing has happened yet. Not giving up.
7. Lucky Bamboo
Did you know that lucky bamboo is a dracaena and not a bamboo? Shocking, I know. Ours had a growth spurt this summer and it had to receive a haircut. Obviously, the cuttings had to be used and I propagated them in soil around the garden. They are commonly propagated in water and kept as an indoor plant but ours loves it outside so I just made more of it! It is free. It is green. Hopefully, it is also lucky!
8. Birds of Paradise
The best thing about birds of paradise is that they keep on giving. One plant is sure to give you 10 in no time. Markus and I took four from father’s main plants: two with the red flowers and another two with orange flowers.
The red ones are tall and mature that it goes without saying it was an ugly root division. We hurt the roots so much that both plants tapped out within a week. Fortunately, the two orange birds of paradise are smaller and they adjusted well to life inside the tiny house. In fact, we have plenty of new leaves and a new growth is currently on the way!
9. Flame Violets
Look at these leaves. How are they not adorable? They also have cute red flowers. While I am in love with hanging plants, it makes sense to cut the vining parts of flame violets for propagation.
Each segment is a new plant. They can be propagated in soil or water. Also, the original plant benefits from the cutting as it encourages new growth. We all want to have lush and full plants, after all.
Just now, I made two new pots of flame violets because I want to give one to my best friend when he visits. See, propagating plants is a great way to give free gifts, too!
10. Ficus Benjamina
This is our latest propagation. In The Philippines, I have only ever seen ficus benjamina or weeping fig planted outdoors, but on YouTube, it seems like everyone in the west keeps it as an indoor plant. I would love to have a tree inside the tiny house, of course!
My father, also known as my gardening rockstar, gave me some cuttings from a big plant that he has, and I am hoping for the best. One already has roots so it is only a matter of adjusting and recovering fast. I can already tell I will be nosy and obsess about these plants every day.
I also took smaller cuttings and stuck them in water to see what happens. I suppose the excitement is one of the best parts of propagation. Will you make a free plant or not? I sure hope so!