Lisa loves to garden and is particularly fond of houseplants. She has more than a hundred of her own and is known as the houseplant guru.

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Cuttings: An easy way to get more plants
by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf       #How to   #Propagation   #Spring

The owner of a small-town shop gave the writer a cutting from a large Hoya that vined throughout the store.

If you have a plant you would like to share with someone or just make more of, now is a good time to take cuttings. In spring, the longer days and increased sunlight awaken our houseplants from their winter slumber. They push new growth, making it the optimal time to take cuttings.

I was in a small town store a couple of years ago and was impressed with the enormous hoya (H. pubicalyx) trailing everywhere through the store. I asked for a cutting (always ask before taking a cutting) and was gifted with one. After I got home, I cut it into smaller pieces, and planted each one.     

This process isn’t complicated or expensive. I use empty deli containers to start cuttings and the appropriate soil for the specific type of plant. If the plant being propagated is not a succulent, humidity is a large factor. Close the lid on the deli container or cover with a plastic bag. The humidity helps keep the cutting well hydrated while waiting for new roots to grow.      

For succulents, such as the hoya pictured, I used a quick-draining soil formulated for succulents. Dampen the soil before placing the cuttings. I used bent wire to pin the cuttings to the soil. Paper clips work well for this, too. The cuttings must have contact with the soil to be able to grow new roots. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Wet soil will rot the plants.     

This process isn’t something that happens overnight. It may take weeks or months to see growth from the cutting. The plants have roots when you see new growth. At this time, you can transplant the cuttings to their own containers.      

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to take cuttings. Although the example is a hoya, the method works for several other houseplants. 


Hoya cutting that will be used to grow new roots.


With a sharp knife or clippers, cut the larger piece into several smaller ones, making sure each one has at least one or two leaves.

Here’s an ideal cutting, with two leaves and stems.


Use paper clips or wire to anchor cuttings in the damp soil. Cuttings need to be in good contact with the soil to develop roots.


The cuttings are pinned to the moistened soil, which is in a deli container, complete with lid. Succulent cuttings do not need high humidity to take root, but other houseplants do, and the container lid can be closed to provide the right environment.

Seven months later the cuttings are growing new shoots.



The cuttings were taken two years ago and they are now ready to be rooted into an 8-10 inch container.


The plant is now happily growing three years later in its own container. Other houseplants may not take years to develop for transplanting.

Eventually, the hoya cutting will trail and display a waxy pinkish-white, fragrant flower.





A version of this article appeared in a March/April 2016 print edition of State-by-State Gardening.
Photography courtesy of Lisa Eldred Steinkopf.




Posted: 06/03/16   RSS | Print


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dwn629 (Florence, Kentucky) - 12/12/2017

What about taking cuttings from outdoor shrubs, like spirea?

I have one that is trying to mutate, it had all green leaves, now it has green, variegated with green and cream, and all cream colored leaves.

Thank you
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