This is a guide for attendees of our Plant Salon Potting and Propagation Class, and this post will provide some additional information for how to grow and care for your new plants.
To propagate a plant means to use part of a mature plant to create a whole new plant. This post is focused on propagating a vining house plant by stem cutting and using either moss or water as the growing medium for the new baby plant. This is just one of the many, many ways there are to propagate a plant, and it can be both an art and a science. There’s a lot of trial and error, so don’t get discouraged! It is awesome when you see the first roots starting to grow.
When to Propagate Your Vining House Plant
For this class, I like to include one of the succulent variety of hoya plants in the propagation kit. Hoya plants come in almost too many varieties to count, and many of them are tropical succulents. Succulents are plants that have thick, waxy leaves that store water very efficiently. This helps the plant reserve its resources and withstand any drought like conditions. Succulents can grow in both dry, arid environments, as well as humid, tropical ones.
Succulent hoyas often grow in tropical climates on cliff sides or in the boughs of trees. The water they get is whatever is able to flow over the surface they’re growing on. So even though they can grow in a rain forest, they may have to depend on the moisture from the high humidity vs. literally being watered thoroughly on a consistent basis.
This makes succulent hoyas very hardy plants that can grow aerial roots directly out of their vines to help them latch onto a surface and pull in moisture from the hot, humid air.
The Parts of Your Plant Vine
There are some key parts of the plant you want to look for when getting ready to make a stem cutting for a new plant propagation. Each vine is a separate plant, and you might have just one stem or possibly dozens of vines in the same pot.
The vine of a mature hoya plant usually begins buried in some growing media like a soil mix or orchid moss. This is where the bulk of the roots of the plant are found. From there as we move up the vine, you may see smaller or finer roots growing out of the vine. These are aerial roots, and are used by the plant to pull in resources from the hot, humid air, as well as to latch on to new growing surfaces like a bamboo trellis, rocky cliff, or a tree.
As we keep moving up the vine you may see a smaller stem that is attached to a leaf. This smaller leaf stem is called a petiole. For many plants, a node is also found usually just below each petiole. Nodes are located at varying lengths throughout the main stem, and they contain the blueprints for growing out a whole new plant. The node is what tells the plant to either grow roots, leaves and branches, or more stem. Each stem has a node in different segments of the stem, and aerial roots often also grow around the spots where nodes are located.
Where to Cut
To ensure that you don’t damage the node of your stem, it is important to first find a spot where a petiole meets the main stem, and cut the main stem at least 1-2” below that point. It is super helpful if the stem also has some aerial roots already growing there. Those aerial roots will then become the new, first established roots for your new plant.
Once you have made your cut, set your stem cutting aside for at least 20 min for the cut opening to scare over. Hoya plants will bleed a latex based sap, so be sure to use care if you have any latex sensitivities.
Growing Media & Conditions
Stem cuttings root the fastest in warm, moist growing media. Your propagation box is a plastic container with a lid, and ventilation holes have been added to increase the airflow in the box. Increased air flow helps prevent your stem cutting from rotting, as well as prevent mold from growing in the propagation box.
I like the propagation boxes best with moss or a very fast draining potting media, and to place them in a spot with filtered light. Too much bright light can be harmful to your cuttings, but do make sure it stays humid and warm on the inside. I tend to use smaller boxes like the one in our propagation kit for stem cuttings that are too short to go in a vessel for water propagation.
I like to put longer, and especially good looking stem cuttings in water propagations, so not only are you growing a new plant, but you can also use the arrangement as the botanical home decor.
When making a water propagation, you want to use fresh water in a glass, vase, or any vessel that can hold water. We tend to get pretty creative with our vessels! You then place your stem in the water, and put the vessel somewhere where it will get filtered light. After about 2 or so weeks you will see fine white roots form.
When to Pot Your Plant
You can plant your stem cutting in a soil potting mix once the roots are at least 2” or more long.
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Let us know how your new plant is growing!
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