DIY: Five Second Propagation

When it comes to propagating plants, some plant varieties just make it easy. Like the spider plant below, they shoot off tiny little babies for you without much help or guidance on your part. This is called asexual propagation. You can also do this with cuttings, but that’s another post in itself.

The easiest way to know when a shoot is ready is if you see tiny roots beginning to form at the bottom of the baby plant, as pictured below.

DSC_5928 (1)

With the spider plant, I usually just clip the shoot at the nearest leaf intersection before the new plant starts, so there isn’t a ton of dead shoot just hanging out. That can lead to disease or might make the shoot decide to just give up the ghost for no reason. The point is to limit the possibility of your plant getting too sad to live, right? If there’s life on the end of the shoot after you cut, that’s the best way to operate.

When I’ve got my babies separated, I partially immerse them in water to let the roots mature. Some people like to stick them directly into wet dirt, which is also acceptable, but this is the way my momma taught me and I prefer this method. If you’d like, you can add the tiniest bit of plant food (literally a drop) if you want to speed along the process. I keep them in fresh water for a week or two (seriously, just change the water every three days or so) and then put them in new, warm dirt homes.


Some plants have shoots originating through the root system, instead of above ground (aloe is a great example of this). In this case, gently dig into the soil with your finger to find where the new plant intersects with the mother plant and carefully snap it off. The key here is to do this without disturbing the secondary roots of both the mother and the baby plant. Secondary roots are just as important as the taproots and damage control is ridiculously important here.

There are tons of advantages to propagating like this — if you want more, you’ve only got to wait for the main plant to mature enough to make shoots. And if you take the shoots, it redirects nutrients back to the mother plant, instead of sapping it all to the babies. You can trade the babies to friends for other plant varieties you don’t have or even sell them.

What other plants do this? Strawberries, mints, aloe, pothos, philodendron, Chinese money tree plants… and tons more than I want to list here, because it would take days. To find more varieties, ask a grower at a garden center or direct a question to a local master gardener. You can also comment below or send me an email. 🙂

Do you propagate? What’s your favorite plant that you’d like to reproduce? Let me know in the comments!


16 thoughts on “DIY: Five Second Propagation

  1. Oh wow, I had no idea there was so much to do with gardening! I’ve always loved the idea of having plants to brighten up my room, but I’m worried that they’ll attract too many insects. I also am terrible at watering them, succulents would probably be the only plants that could survive under my watch!

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin’

    • As long as you are gardening, it’s bound to be perfect. 🙂 I’m devoting a lot of time this winter to studying up on varieties that do well in pots. Gotta embrace apartment life, rather than continuously trying old methods. That’s what winter is all about. 🙂 can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  2. This was really interesting to read, but it kinda hurt my brain. I am the worst when it comes to plants and I just don’t have that loving touch that you have. You’re like Professor Sprout and me? I am Grawp.

  3. I’d love to know your tips on strawberry plants. I tried to grow some (again) this year, with no luck. I put them in a big pot, because my best agriculture friend told me they will spread all over everything. Mine just never do anything. Is it just the climate of West Virginia? Let me know if you have any good info for next time!

    • How much sunlight are you getting? Do you know what variety they are? What do the leaves look like right now? Most of all, are you loving them too hard (this is my worst downfall)? Let me know and I may be able to help out.
      The best luck I’ve had with strawberries are from a Chandler variety I got at the farmer’s market a year or two back. They bask in the sun and give me delicious, huge fruit, until the stupid spider mites come and ruin my fun and I have to treat them. Lol.
      Try to find a variety that’s a day-neutral (meaning that they are bear and make shoots, no matter the season or the amount of trees/mountains blocking the light). They’re hardy buggers. The big pot is a great idea, since they like to stretch out and make sure to feed them once a month.
      Did I help at all? I hope so!

      • I know nothing about the variety. Like I bought the plant at Home Depot. lol I sat the pot out with my regular garden, so it was getting a lot of sunlight. Too much? The leaves were looking nice and green, but now they just look sad and kinda brown. Because my raised bed was doing so well, I didn’t feel like I loved the plant too hard…but maybe I neglected it a bit. That definitely helped! Thanks for getting back with me. Is it too late for them now? If so, maybe they’ll be successful next year! lol 🙂

      • Was it super green at the beginning of summer? If so, it might be a June-bearing variety. It’s okay if it doesn’t produce in the first year, that just makes for an insanely strong root base.
        Do they have spider mites? Any pests around? Anything else around them ailing? If not, definitely a June-bearer and you should get some lovelies out of it next spring and early summer. Make sure it’s got good drainage, too.
        Until then, snip off all the dead stuff to the base and water it once a week until next spring. And then send me pics. 🙂

      • They were nice and green initially at the beginning of summer, and no pests that I can see. So June-bearing it is then? I’ll try to keep it healthy for next year! Do I just bring it inside for the cold months? Sit it by a window? I’m so new to this!

      • As long as you cut the stems to the crown and water it once a week, it should come back on it’s own. Leave it outside, near the house so there’s still some heat. Cover it if there’s a ton of snow, but let it out once a month to let air circulate. This also goes for any other perennials.
        And pshhhh. You’re doing awesomely just by caring this much. 🙂

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