Water Propagate Vining Plants In 3 Easy Steps
First off, what does it mean to propagate a plant? The word propagate, in simple terms, means to grow a new plant from the plant you already have. Plants with trailing vines are some of the easiest and most fun to propagate. You can propagate your plant in soil or water, but I recommend water because it's easiest.
First choose a section of your vining plant with healthy, robust growth. Look for large leaves, new shoots, and strong vines. If you're concerned about trimming back your plant, don't worry, trimming eliminates heavy vines and can stimulate new growth.
Here's how to do it in three easy steps.
1) Find The Node
Without a node, your cuttings won't grow roots. A node is the origin point of a leaf and is also a potential rooting zone. Some vines grow aerial roots at the node like the one in the photo above. This makes it easy to locate. Choose a vine with at least one or two nodes below the leaf or leaves you want to save.
2) Cut The Vine
Use sterilized pruning shears, (learn how to sterilize shears here), and cut the vine an inch or more below the node. Zigzagged or curly vines can be more challenging to work with. Your cuttings need to sit nicely in water, and eventually anchor the plant in soil, so so select straight cuttings with a few inches of easy-to-pot vine if you can.
Create ten or more cuttings for a nice full plant, but less than that is fine and you will form a skinnier plant. Use a soft green tie or a bread tie to organize a bundle of cuttings. This prevents delicate new roots from tangling, simplifies cleaning, and makes it easier to pot when it's time.
3) Place In Water
Find a vase or vessel you love, fill it with water, and place your cuttings in it. Roots normally grow in the dark, so it helps to use an opaque vase. You can absolutely use a clear glass vase, but just make sure to keep the roots away from direct sunlight.
New cuttings are rootless, so they won't need any special lighting above the water. Roots need warmth to grow, so keep the water at room temperature and protect your cuttings from cold, drafty windowsills.
Change the water at least once a week. Roots need oxygen to grow and fresh water is oxygenated, so change the water often and you'll speed the rooting process. Rinse out your vase and gently clean the cuttings by running them under tepid water. This should get rid of any mushy leaf segments or potential algae.
Now You Wait
If you love the way your cuttings look, waiting won't be hard - you'll enjoy them as they are. Fast rooting plants like pothos and philodendrons take about three weeks to root while other types may take longer.
Plants root fastest in the spring and summer, and take longer in winter. However, sometimes your roots develop slowly for unknown reasons. I've seen cuttings root in three quick weeks, and I've also waited months. As long as the leaves aren't turning yellow, falling off, or going limp - keep waiting.
Pot When Rooted
Once the roots are an inch long, you can pot them in soil. If you've grown attached to your little vase of cuttings, who can blame you? The choice is yours whether to pot or not, but keep in mind plants need minerals and bacteria from soil. If you choose to grow your plants in water for the long term, they may be lacking vital oxygen and minerals.
And one more thing...