Propagation Methods

Simply, propagation is the process of creating new plants. There are various ways to do this, but one method or another may work best depending on the plant. It can be very fun and satisfying to experiment and propagate your own plants. This is how Ryan’s Plant Shop got started!

Below we will go through the top three propagation methods that have worked well for us. 


The most common propagation technique for many indoor and outdoor plants. This method is performed by cutting off a vegetative part (stem, leaf, or roots) and planting it to regenerate a whole new plant. There are three different ways to propagate through cutting, named after the part of the plant you are taking a cutting from.

  1. Stem Cutting - Typically, start by cutting about a 3” portion of the stem and place into a medium for growing (water, soil, moss, etc.). You may use rooting hormone to help ensure a more successful attempt.
  2. Leaf Cutting - Take a leaf, or part of one, and place the stem side down into the growing medium with the remaining leaf sticking out of the medium.
  3. Root Cutting - Usually used for dormant plants. Cut a portion of the root system and place it in growing medium.


    A common method used by digging up a plant and breaking, or splitting the plant into smaller sections. The crown of the plant may be divided, or what is commonly known as suckers may be broken off and separated into new individual plants. Plants that grow from bulbs or corms, may be propagated by removing small offsets from the parent bulb.


    There are a few variations of the layering method, however, it is the most hands-off approach to propagation. Simply, bury part of a stem or branch and new roots and shoots will begin to grow.

    1. Simple Layering - Easily cover a portion of a stem or branch with soil and eventually roots and shoots will grow. This works best with plants with low lying branches or trailing/vining plants.
    2. Mound or Stool Layering - Prune back the plant to about one inch above the soil, and eventually new shoots will begin to grow. Before the new shoots grow out too long, cover them with a few inches of soil. After new plant growth is well developed above the new soil mound, you may carefully dig and separate the new section of the plant.
    3. Air Laying - Select a node or leaf location and remove the leaf, and any within a few inches. Use a handful of moist moss to surround the node site, then wrap the moss in plastic (can simply use plastic wrap or specially made propagation products) and tie off to hold in place. After a few months, check for visual confirmation of root formation. Once sufficient roots are formed, remove plastic and moss, cut below the new roots (and node) and plant into a growing medium.

    With all of these methods, you will want to keep an eye on progress and make sure that the growing medium stays moist throughout the process. Not all propagation will be successful, so be sure to multiply your attempts and try different methods. Good luck and as always, have fun!

    Share your propagation photos and stories with us!

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