A Zero-Cost Way to Add More Plants to Your Space

A Zero-Cost Way to Add More Plants to Your Space

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Shifrah Combiths
Jun 1, 2018
(Image credit: Liz Calka)

Caring for our plants, watching them thrive (or not die, as the case may be), and appreciating the personality they bring to our spaces is joy enough when it comes to indoor gardening. But if you're ready to take your plant parenting to the next level, the delight of making plant babies will take you there.

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This Weekend's Assignment:

Propagate your plants.

Thankfully for us, many of the most popular houseplants are also easy to propagate through one of three ways — with cuttings, root division or pups. Here are some tips about how to go about it, as well as some ideas about what you can do with your plants' offspring.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Plants that are easy to propagate with stem or leaf cuttings

Propagating plants from leaf cuttings is as easy as snipping off a stem with a few leaves and rooting it. Cut with clean shears just below a node. You may root by placing the cutting in water until roots form and then transplanting into soil (or leaving in water, in some cases) or by planting directly in soil. Rooting powder may be used to encourage root growth when planting a cutting in soil.

The following plants are easy to propagate from leaf or stem cuttings with the above method. You can click through to each link below for more details on how it's done.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Plants that are easy to propagate with root division

Multi-stemmed houseplants can be divided to create one or more additional potted plants. Take the plant from its pot and tug gently at one stem to separate the roots. If the plant won't separate, cut through the roots with a knife. Re-pot and keep out of bright light and evenly moist until the "new" plants are established.

Plants that respond well to propagation with root division include:

(Image credit: Rachel Jacks)

Plants that are easy to propagate with pups

Plants that produce "pups" or small offshoots of themselves do most of the work of propagation for you. For the best chance of success, let the pups grow to about three inches in size before cutting them off with sharp, clean shears. Plant them directly in their own pots.

Here are some plants that produce pups:

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

How to Propagate Succulents

Succulents are perhaps the most well-known and popular type of plant to propagate and for good reason: They are extremely easy to reproduce, from all three methods mentioned above, depending either on the type of succulent or your preferred method. Check out our guide to succulent care for tips on how to propagate them.

What To Do With All Your Plant Babies

By propagating your plants, you can instantly multiply the number of plants you have in your home without buying new ones. But if you get to the point of having too many plants (is there such a thing?), giving them away in pretty pottery or in simple pots wrapped in ribbon is a thoughtful, appreciated, and inexpensive gift (especially for hostess gifts or teacher appreciation gifts). And don't worry about size. Tiny terra cotta pots with cheery sprigs of rosemary or succulent babies might be even more thrilling than typical-sized plants.

What plants do you like to propagate and what do you do with your plant babies?

You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we've sent you, or tackle another project you've been meaning to get to. It's also completely okay to skip a weekend if you're busy or not feeling the assignment.

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