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Propagating From Nodes

Published on March 28th 2020

by Roosie. All rights reserved

A close up of a green Maranta 'Lemon Lime' plant
Plant propagation is a way of getting new plants for free, and spring is a great time to get started!
There are a range of different ways you can produce new plants, and in this article, I will focus on node propagation.
A node is the thickened part of a plant stem where new growth appears. New growth can be stems, leaves or roots.
Here are my easy steps to use them to create new plants:
A woman repotting an Aloe Vera

Easy Houseplants

Choose your plant

So many to choose from! I've decided to propagate this Maranta' Lemon Lime'.
A close up of a flower

Here are some other houseplants you could try:

Getting started

The plant you are using to propagate from should be healthy, of a good size and free from any pests or diseases.
A good, healthy stem with a couple of visible nodes
Start as you would with any plant task, using clean hands and equipment.
You'll need your fingers, some scissors and whatever you're rooting in, this could be water or soil.
A hand holding a pair of scissors
I find that the node cuttings from this plant do particularly well in an airy mixture of regular potting soil, perlite and moss:
An airy potting mix for propagation
Roughly equal parts soil, perlite and moss

Choose your location

Find a node - a bumpy bit in the stem where new growth appears. You'll need at least one node, preferably two, per cutting to increase the chances of them rooting successfully.
A hand holding a plant
Two good looking nodes


Deep breath, you can do it! As painful as some find it cutting into a prized plant, it can sometimes be exactly what they need.
Trimming a strong leading shoot stops the plant channelling all its resources into one growing point. Hormones control this, and the main one here is auxin.
Auxin is produced at the growing tip, termed the apical bud and it suppresses the growth of side shoots. This allows plants to grow upward and outcompete their neighbours for light.
Once the tip is cut, auxin levels reduce and the plant channels energy into creating side shoots, which will compete to become the leading growth point.
This creates a bushier, healthier plant overall, and more opportunities for propagating!
Try to get clean, straight wound, not too close to the node.
A close up of a plant cutting sitting on top of a wooden table


Now place the cutting into water or soil to root. You might need to remove the lower leaves to get both nodes in.
Removing some leaves also can reduce water loss (transpiration), from a cutting, and increase the chance of success.
A close up of a green plant
S'cuse my spring onions and succulents in the background

Wait patiently...

Place your propagation out of strong sunshine and, to increases your odds, you could place a plastic bag over the top to maintain higher humidity.
A glass of roots
Over time your cutting should develop roots. Sometimes they rot. It happens, don't feel bad, just have another go!
Remember to change the water regularly. Clear glass is fab for observing root growth, but you may also get some algae growing in there too. Use an opaque container for water propagation to avoid this.

Roots are so cool

It can be great to watch roots grow when propagating in water. You could set up a few glasses in your household and see who grows the longest roots.
The roots can be seen easily with water propagation
A close up of a plant on a wooden surface
Or hidden away in the soil

Wait a bit more...

Over time your cutting should develop a healthy root system and eventually some small new leaves.
A hand holding a green plant with a new shoot
New shoot under the soil!
To quickly create full pots, place a few cuttings of the same plant together.
Like this!
You could plant multiple cuttings into one pot to create a bushier look, or mix it up with different compatible plants!
There's a few different Pothos that look great planted together, some Philodendrons too!

Given enough time, you'll get many new plants!

A thriving pot!
Note: It's not always successful; sometimes, they just don't make it!
But I think the ones that succeed more than make up for those little disappointments.

If you're feeling inspired to have a go, I'd love to see your propagations!

Use the hashtag #propagation to share your growing experience with the community:

Some other houseplants you could try propagating by nodes

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