Gardening Houseplants How to Grow Plants From Stem Cuttings Growing new plants from cuttings is easy, fun, and costs next to nothing. Just clip a length of stem and watch the roots grow. By Kate Carter Frederick Kate Carter Frederick For 30 years, Kate Carter Frederick has served as an on-staff editor for the Better Homes and Gardens special interest magazines as well as a freelance editor, project manager, writer, producer, and garden/plant stylist for the magazines, books, brand licensing, and custom publishing groups of Meredith Corp. Her work for hundreds of magazines, books, and websites spans the realms of gardening, outdoor living, DIY, food, crafts, decorating, remodeling, building, and holiday celebrations. Learn about BHG's Editorial Process Published on March 15, 2018 Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Marty Baldwin Project Overview Working Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 4 weeks, 2 days Skill Level: Kid-friendly Instead of trimming a plant and throwing away the debris, make mindful cuts and create new plants from the mother plant. Growing from stem cuttings is easy if you know the right steps to take care of cuttings. With enough water and humidity, stem cuttings can create new pots of favorite plants that can add to a personal collection or be given away to friends and family. What You'll Need Equipment / Tools 1 Small knife 1 Chopstick or pencil Materials 1 Small pots or cell packs 1 Soilless seed-starting mix, equal parts peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, sterilized coarse sand 1 Mother plant 1 Rooting hormone powder 1 Plastic bag and twist tie 1 Water Instructions Prep For Planting Prepare nursery containers by filling small pots or cell packs with premoistened soilless medium. Potting soil and regular potting mix hold too much moisture. Select healthy, nonflowering stems from the mother plant for cuttings. Use a clean, sharp knife to cut a 3- to 4-inch shoot below a leaf node (the spot where a leaf emerges from a stem as shown). Cut off the bottom leaves of the shoot and snip off any flowers or buds. This prompts the plant to use its energy for rooting rather than growing leaves or flowers. Dip Into Rooting Hormone Encourage root growth by dipping the cut end into powdered rooting hormone. Rooting hormones can be found at most gardening stores, or can be ordered online. Cover any cut parts with the powder. Create A Hole For Planting Use a chopstick or a pencil to poke a planting hole in the damp soilless medium. We recommend poking a hole 1 to 2 inches deep to keep the stem cutting sturdy. Creating a hole for the stem cutting prevents the powdered hormone on the end from being disturbed during planting. Marty Baldwin Place Stem Cutting Slide the cutting into the planting hole without knocking off the rooting powder. If the hole is too narrow, use the chopstick or pencil to widen the hole. Gently press the medium against the stem to keep it sturdy and upright in the pot. Create Humidity Slip a plastic bag over the nursery container and twist tie the bag shut to create a humid, greenhouselike environment that will boost the cutting's growth. If the pot is small enough, a zip-top plastic bag will work just as well. Set cuttings in bright, indirect light. Related: Houseplant Humidity Guidelines Check The Roots A few weeks after taking a cutting, check its root development by gently tipping the container on its side and tapping out the soil and rootball. Be gentle with the roots, so as to not tear or break them. A new plant will be ready for transplanting when roots appear strong and have begun to fill out the inside of the nursery pot.