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Most house plants can be propagated easily with the right steps. Propagated plants can fill your house with more greenery or supply a reserve of quick gifts for friends. Follow these steps and tips to start growing.
African Violets (Saintpaulia Ionantha)
African Violets make wonderful gifts when in bloom. Though notoriously difficult to grow, they can be easily propagated and, with the correct care, kept healthy. When caring for an African Violet, always remember that moderation is key. Too much or too little water or sunlight will harm the plant. These plants often fall victim to root rot when over-watered. African Violets thrive when watered from the bottom (try a self-watering planter or a pot with holes in the bottom placed in a bowl of water).
To propagate an African Violet, clip a single leaf from the parent plant. The leaf can be clipped with or without a stem (though, it is usually best to leave about an inch of the stem attached). Fill a small plastic cup (clear works well because the sunlight will warm the plant and the soil) with special African Violet soil and either place the leaf without a stem on top of the dirt or poke the stem of the leaf into the dirt. Water the plant so the soil is thoroughly saturated, but not pooling. Cover the cup with a small, plastic bag and place in a sunny location. Be sure to keep the soil moist at all times.
Once you see that the stem or leaf has grown roots, the plastic bag can be removed. Before you know it, the plant will sprout new leaves and eventually bloom. Usually, the propagated plant will flower the same color as its parent plant. Sometimes in cases where the parent plant grew from a grafted seed, your new plant will surprise you with a different colored bloom.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
Like African Violets, Christmas Cacti are also easily propagated. This particular type of cactus can survive in regular potting soil, but will do best in a potting soil designed for cacti.
In order to propagate a Christmas Cactus, break a couple of leaf sections from the parent plant between digits. If one leaf breaks from the plant, it can be rooted, but a chain of leaves works best. Poke the bottom leaf about an inch deep into soil in a small cup and place in full sun. Leave the plant uncovered, but keep it well-watered until it has rooted. You will be amazed by how quickly these starts will take off in the summer.
Many succulents can be propagated and sometimes propagate themselves when their leaves (or branches) fall from parent plants. Propagation works better with some succulents than others. To propagate a succulent plant, break a leaf from the parent plant and poke it into soil. This leaf can be grown in its own planter or in the same pot as its parent. There is no need to cover a succulent with a plastic bag or to keep the soil overly moist. Water the new plant just as you would its parent. Be especially careful not to over-water succulent plants. You will need to be more patient with your succulent plant starts because they grow more slowly than other plants mentioned in this article. As long as the leaf does not appear shriveled or molded, the plant is alive and will eventually sprout new leaves.
Pothos and Ivy Plants
Pothos and Ivy plants can be propagated as well. These plants, however, need to be rooted in water rather than soil. Cut a section from the plant and place it in a vase of water. Be sure to change the water every couple of days to keep the plant from rotting. After a while, you will see that roots have sprouted from the section of plant. At this time, the plant is ready to be potted in soil. Keep the soil moist at all times for the first couple of weeks that the plant is potted.
Plants can be propagated in fall and winter, but you will find the plants growing more quickly and that you have more success with spring and summer propagations. The warmer weather and longer hours of sunlight will help your plants grow. If propagating during the darker months, try using a grow lamp and terrarium.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|