Winter can be tough on gardeners. It’s too early to start seeds indoors in most locations and too cold to work outside. But one fun project you can do is to make more houseplants through propagation. Here’s the basics.
• Leaf Cuttings– Common houseplants, such as African violets and begonias, can be propagated by leaf cuttings. Cut a healthy leaf leaving a small stem or petiole attached. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder and stick it in a pot filled with moisten potting soil with the top part of the leaf sticking out of the soil. Keep out of direct sun. Once you see new growth forming, repot the leaf in an individual pot.
• Stem Cuttings– Geraniums, rosemary, ivy, pothos, and coleus are just some of the plants to propagate by stem cuttings. Cut a 4-to 6-inch long piece of a healthy stem. Remove any flower buds and the lower leaves. Dip it in rooting powder and stick it in a pot as with the leaf cutting.
• Air Layering– For a bit more of challenge, try air layering. You can air layer common houseplants such as rubber trees, corn plants and ficus. Select a branch that when cut off won’t deform the plant. Go down 1 foot from the tip of the branch and remove the leaves where you’ll make the cut. With a sharp knife, make a 2-to 3-inch long cut on one side of the branch into the inner wood. Dust the cut with rotting hormone powder. Cover the cut with moisten sphagnum peat moss and wrap black plastic around the peat moss to keep it moist and dark.
Use VELCRO® Brand Garden Ties and VELCRO® Brand ONE-WRAP® Ties to secure the top and bottom of the plastic to hold it in place. Wait about one month and check for roots developing in the peat moss. Once you see many roots growing, cut off the branch below the wound and pot it up.