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How to propagate a plant

Wondering how to propagate a plant? I hope that this comprehensive guide helps!

So, you love plants. I can’t blame you. So do I!

However, plants can be really expensive. Even if they aren’t, to get enough plants to get that lush, green, Instagram look, it’s going to get pricey.

That is where plant propagation comes into play.

Plant propagation is the process of growing new plants from a parent plant.

So, all you need is a plant to start with – it could be your plant or a friend’s plant (cutting swaps are fantastic!)

You are going to take a cutting from that plant and propagate it, or grow roots. Then, you will plant your new plant in soil!

how to propagate plants from cuttings

How to propagate plants

You can propagate plants via a lot of different methods. My favorite is propagating in water. It is the most beginner-friendly and the focus of this post. However, there are other methods.

Plant propagation methods

  • Propagating from stem cuttings
  • Propagating from root cuttings
  • Propagating with leaf cuttings
  • Root division
  • Grafting
  • Air layering

For this article, I focus on beginner level plant propagation, which I consider propagating from stem cuttings in water. You can also propagate stem cuttings in soil.

How to propagate plants in water

You don’t need special tools or skills to propagate plants. All you need is:

  • A starter plant
  • Sharp clean scissors
  • A jar or cup of water
  • Indirect light – such as a sunny window
pothos cuttings after 1 week
Yield: 1 new plant

How to propagate plants in water

Active Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 month
Total Time: 1 month 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $0-10

Propagating plants in water is the process of rooting a new plant using just water. It is easy and free to do. Here is the exact process you want to follow.


  • Parent Plant


  • Scissors
  • Jar of water
  • Sunny window


  1. Select a healthy section of your parent plant. It is best to pick a section with recent new growth as you know it is healthy and growing. You will want to cut a 4-6" section.
  2. Find the nodes on the plant (if it has them). These are little bumps on the stem. Roots will grow from the node. You want to cut right below the node so it is the very end of your cutting.
  3. Once you have cut your stem, remove any leaves that will be under water. You want the plant to focus it's energy on growing roots, so leave only 2-4 leaves.
  4. Place in a jar of water in a sunny window.
  5. Check the water weekly. Refill or replace as needed.
  6. You should see roots in a few weeks and it should be ready to plant when the roots are 4-6 inches long, in 1-2 months.

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Did you make this project?

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What plants can I propagate in water?

In general, for propagating in water, you want to look for plants with green stems. Plants with woody stems do not propagate easily in water.

Click here for a list of 20 plants that propagate easily in water.

How long do plants take to root?

The length of time that a plant takes to root will depend on a lot of things – how healthy the parent plant was, the amount of sun and water it gets, even the time of year.

You should see some growth within a month. If you don’t see anything, I would re-cut the end off of your cutting (just an inch or so) and stick it back in the water and reset your clock.

It will take a little longer for roots to be long enough to plant in soil.

What temperature should I keep plant cuttings at?

Plant cuttings are good to be kept around 70 degrees. Anything below 55 degrees will be hard for roots to grow. Anything over 75 degrees and you are likely to grow green gunk.

Want a plant propagation PDF eBook? I wrote one just for you!

Here are some plant propagation examples that I have blogged about:

How to propagate plants in water

Plant propagation is an easy way to get new plants for free! Here are posts about how to propagate plants.

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