One of the things we love most about keeping houseplants is how easy it is to make more out of one. Plants are designed to multiply. They spread roots, send off shoots, and regenerate themselves in all sorts of exciting ways. Even if you have very little experience with houseplants, you’ll find that propagating plants is a fun and gratifying way to take indoor gardening to the next level. Not only is it a great way to get more plants without paying for them but you’ll also have baby plants to share, swap or gift. And who doesn’t love baby plants?!
Propagation through offsets
There are several ways of propagating plants. One of the easiest is propagation through offsets. Not all plants form offsets but many cacti or succulents but also Bromeliads or the snake plant do. Offsets are new, virtually complete baby plants, also called suckers, at the base of the parent plant. These offsets are clones, meaning that they are genetically identical to the parent plants. Yes, that’s right. Clones. This is how cool plants are. They already have reproduction through cloning down pat. The only thing you need to do is to separate the clones from the parent plant. We’ll show you how with one of our snake plants.
What you need
- Your plant, of course
- Clay pebbles or other drainage stones
- Potting mix
- Small Planters with drainage trays
- Optional: Scissors or a Knife
Inspect the plant
First, check if the parent plant already has offsets. They are easy to identify: It’s typically a small leaf or a group of leaves that grow a little apart from the mother plant.
Take the mother plant out of the planter
Parent plants that have offsets are often root-bound and sit tight in the planter. To take out the mother plant, try squeezing the planter or carefully loosen the soil around the edges of the plant with a knife.
Identify viable offsets
You may find “hidden” offsets in the root system. It’s important to select only those that have roots and are viable. Offsets that grow around or just below the soil line of the plant often are. But if you aren’t sure just leave it with the mother plant to give it the best chances of survival.
Separate the offset from the parent plant
Remove some of the soil around the offsets and loosen the root ball a bit with your hands. Gently separate the babies from the parent plant. You can also use a knife for this step, just avoid damaging any roots.
Repot the parent plant and the offsets
Fill the bottom of the planters (the original for the parent plant and the small ones for the offsets) with a few pebbles or drainage stones. This will help with avoiding water logging.
Fill in the potting mix
Fill the pot three quarters of the way with soil.
Place the plants into the new planters
Place the parent plant or the offsets on top of the fresh potting mix, making sure it is centered and anchored.
Fill up the planter with the potting mix
Add a little bit more potting mix around the plant. Do not fill too much soil into the pot, as you want the roots to breathe. Leave some space below the lip of the planter to avoid that water rushes off the sides when you water the plants.
Water the plants
Sit the planters on their drainage trays and water the plants gently around the inner edges of the pot. Remove any excess water from the drainage trays.
Have fun with your plant family
…and share the love.