I enjoy propagating plants because there are only a few things cooler than watching roots grow or see severed parts of plants suddenly take a life of their own.
Also, it helps me relax – call it insurance, if you will, especially for some beloved or hard-to-find plants, at least where we live.
It is just so uplifting, growing plants in general, isn’t it? Good for the soul. It never hurts that the greenery spreads without me having to spend anything, too!
Is propagating easy? Yes, but not always. Sometimes there are misunderstandings, if not a total drama show. Below are some of my favorite propagations and the stories behind them.
1. Ficus altissima
We grew this last summer – 1 out of 18 cuttings! It was incredibly rough. Maybe it was the weather, some accidental fertilizing, or plain bad juju because Markus and I just took cuttings without permission from this large tree in front of a closed bank here.
I was so nervous when I transplanted the only successful propagation from water to soil. Fortunately, there was no issue and here it is, happy and growing behind the tiny house. I still need to find its permanent home in the garden or elsewhere, but so far, I am enjoying the new leaves and their cool pattern. Really pretty!
2. Cane begonia
My uncle gave me a few stem cuttings of this begonia last January with a note that says they are incredibly easy to root. I normally propagate in water but he says it will be fine even if I just stick it in soil. I do as I am told.
Before that, I had to remove some lower leaves from the cuttings and thought of propagating this begonia by leaf, too. I have never done this before but thought, “Why not?”.
One out of five leaf propagations survived and four rotted. Just look at this tiny plant coming out of the leaf. Isn’t it the cutest thing in the world? How hardcore is nature to be able to do this? Magic, I tell you.
Also, did you know that you can eat the flower of this begonia? I do not know the exact ID but my uncle also uses the leaves as a souring agent in cooked food. I eat the flowers and they taste like the fruit of camachile.
3. Strobilanthes dyeriana
Look how gorgeous this persian shield is. It is purple, fuzzy, and regale. My photos do not give it justice as I took them on a gray day. These propagations are precious because they show the importance of trying again – with that I mean I killed my first three tries.
Two rotted in water and the only one that rooted I transplanted too soon in soil and it died. The root system was not established enough. I tried again and learned from my previous experiment and now here we are. Success!
Does anyone know this variety? Because I do not. I have plenty of aglaonema but this one is a diva. Nothing seemed to please it. So I chopped it all off. The main plant had only two leaves left and I propagated the top larger part in water. It looks a lot happier now. Even better, now I have two plants!
5. Chlorophytum comosum
Relax, it is just a spider plant. We have tons of these, but I particularly like this one because it is Markus’ plant. We propagated this in the heat of the first quarantine period and named it Q. No, we do not name all of our plants. Some just naturally take. Q lives on a used chickpea can and there are no urgent plans of repotting him.
6. Philodendron erubescens
Masha is another early quarantine project, if not my first ever propagation attempt. I took several cuttings from Father’s plant and stuck some in water and some in soil. Masha is the one in soil and it is glorious.
It has grown so much and it is also very forgiving. Sometimes, it dries up and all the leaves curl and wilt but it bounces immediately after watering. Sorry, Masha!
Compared to our other philodendron erubescens plants, Masha is small because of the way I grow it. I think it is okay. We do not have a shortage of monsters!
Have you ever propagated your plants? If you have houseplants, maybe you can experiment with some cuttings and see what happens. Watching roots and leaves grow is endless entertainment!