Propagation is all the rage among plant lovers lately, and for good reason! It’s fun, it’s easy, and who doesn’t want to fill their house with free plants? If you have been wanting to try plant propagation, here is a great place to start.
Propagation is a form of asexual reproduction in plants that is much faster than growing from seed. Most methods involve taking a cutting from a parent plant and helping it put down roots of its own. Often these cuttings are placed in water, but today we’re going to explore a method of propagating in moss!
Sphagnum (or Peat) Moss can be utilized in lots of different ways in propagation. In this article, we are going to focus on one of the simplest methods: a propagation box.
A propagation box is an excellent way to grow multiple different cuttings at once, even from different species. It’s affordable to start, easy to maintain, and very portable. Here’s all you need to get started:
- A plastic bin with a lid; preferably clear (it can be any size you want)
- A sharp, clean knife or shear for cutting
- Sphagnum (Peat) Moss
Propagating in Moss
Preparing a propagation box is simple. Get your Sphagnum Moss nice and damp, squeezing out any surplus moisture like a sponge. Line the bottom of your box with a couple inches of moss, so that there’s space for your cuttings to put down roots. Rooting Hormone can be used to speed up this process, but it’s entirely optional.
Propagating in moss is a great method for plants that are more rare or fussy. But here are some easy ones you can use to get started:
- Chinese Evergreen
- English Ivy
- Devil’s Ivy (Pothos)
I like to start with common plants whenever I experiment with a new propagation technique, in case I encounter any mishaps along the way. Additionally, I’m a big fan of vine plants because their anatomies tend to be very approachable, which makes it easier to identify good cuttings. However, this propagation method is highly effective with a broad range of plants, so don’t worry if you want to try something not mentioned above.
To take your cutting, choose the place on the plant you’d like to cut from, and then identify a node. Usually these occur at the junction of leaf and stem, and are especially easy to locate on vine plants. This will be where your cutting puts down its roots. Make your cut just below the node, removing the lowest leaves if necessary, and then simply transfer your new cutting to the propagation box, tucking it right down into the moss. Place the lid over the top to keep the inside of your box humid.
Keeping your moss damp is key to producing healthy propagates. Use a mister or spray bottle to keep things moist, but if necessary, you can put a small, open glass of water inside your box to help maintain humidity. You want to see some consistent condensation inside the bin. On the other hand, if you notice that everything is staying too wet, you can poke or drill some holes in the lid to for ventilation.
You will want your box to have good access to light, especially if it’s being kept indoors. With that being said, keep a close eye on your cuttings’ reactions to the intensity of the light. Too much direct light might actually start to make your plants a little mushy. Experiment to find the best place in your house to keep your propagates.
Propagation is a waiting game, but with this method, most cuttings should start showing roots within a couple weeks. Because every plant and propagate is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long your roots need to be before you pot them. I recommend waiting until you feel like the roots are strong and mature before you pot them. For vine plants like Pothos, I often wait until they’re four or five inches.
Potting is the easy part. Do some research to figure out what kind of soil is best for your plant and what kind of fertilizer they prefer, and then prepare your pot. Typically, you will bury about a third of your cutting, making sure that the roots are fully covered. Pay special attention to these little babies for a few weeks, to make sure that they’re taking to the soil well. They should start standing up on their own in no time.
For today’s plant enthusiast, learning to propagate opens up a world of beautiful, green possibilities. Almost half of the plants growing in my apartment right now have grown from cuttings, and many of them are just as big and beautiful as their parents! While we’ve only scratched the surface of what propagation can do here, I hope that it’s enough to get you started.
As always, we’d love to see your propagation setup! Share a photo of your propagation box and tag us in it, or let us know what your favorite method is. Happy propagating!