Plant Propagation for Beginners

Propagating plants might sound like a drag, but depending on what type of plant you’re working with, it can be simple. Follow our steps below and you’ll be putting the ‘pro’ in propagation in no time.

Bird's eye view of two Pothos plants and pruning scissors

Words by The Sill

Design Tips Next Article
Propagating plants might sound like a drag, but depending on what type of plant you’re working with, it can be simple. Follow our steps below and you’ll be putting the ‘pro’ in propagation in no time.

Propagation is not always successful on the first few tries, but we encourage you start somewhere because it’s rewarding when it works! You. Got. This. 

Propagation for many plants is best done in potting soil, but some plants can be propagated in water. This is because they have evolved in an environment that allows it. Most Aroid plants can be propagated in water, including pothos plants, philodendrons, monsteras, and ZZ plants. These plants originate from an ancestor that lived in swamps, so being able to adapt to flooding conditions and still being able to grow was key to survival. As a result, the descendants of that ancestor have the ability to grow in water, too. However, they are still land plants and will do best if planted in soil over the long term. Follow our easy steps below and you’ll be putting the ‘pro’ in propagation in no time.

What you’ll need:
  • Plant to propagate (we use a Pothos below) 
  • Scissors/Pruners
  • Glass vessel filled with room temperature water 
  • Garden gloves to keep germs away (or wash your hands thoroughly)
Step 1

On a mature vine, look right below the leaf or stem/vine juncture for a tiny brown root node. These tiny bumps are the key to propagating pothos. You’ll want to snip off a couple inches of healthy stem right before a node and include a node or two with the cutting, as this is where the new roots will come from. 

view of a pothos plant's nodes

Step 2

Remove any leaves too close to the node, especially ones that might end up submerged under water when you put your cutting into your glass vessel.  

view of a pothos plant cuttings with multiple nodes

Step 3

Place your plant cutting(s) in your glass vessel and put it in a spot that receives bright to moderate indirect light. Do not place in strong, direct light or super-low light. (Learn more a plant's light needs here.)  

view of multiple marble queen pothos plant cuttings in glass vase of water

Step 4

Arguably, the most difficult step: be patient! Check root growth from the node on a weekly basis. Add fresh, tepid water when needed. You can replace the water every few days, or simply top off the vessel with fresh water when it’s looking low—as long as there is no murkiness or fungi growing. If the water is murky, we recommend replacing it for the health of the growing root system.

view of multiple marble queen pothos plant cuttings in glass vase of water with significant root growth

Getting Dirty

If you’d like to transplant your plant cutting(s) from the glass vessel into a planter with potting mix, we recommend waiting until the root is at least 1 inch long or longer. This should take 4-6 weeks. Once the roots of the cutting are potted in fresh potting mix, saturate that mix with room temperature water and place in bright indirect light. Let potting mix dry out between waterings. Learn more about potting plants here

Water, Water Everywhere

If you want to keep your plant cutting(s) growing in water indefinitely, that is totally a viable option. A word of warning: the longer your plant cutting sits in water, the worse the plant could fare over time. Why? Water has no nutrients, and can increase the risk for potential fungal infections. You can help to combat this by changing out the water regularly and adding a tiny bit of fertilizer every month or so during the spring and summer growing season. 

Find more top tips and tricks for successful plant propagation here.

Welcome to our community!

Shopping with The Sill means you’re supported every step of your plant parenthood journey. Learn more about our Reward Program.

Learn More

5 Unique Houseplants for Holiday Decorating

As you start to decorate and make your space feel more merry and bright, consider adding these unique holiday houseplants for some extra cheer this...

How to Carve a Pumpkin and DIY Plant Stencils

Use our free plant-themed stencils to trace and carve your favorite pumpkin for a DIY decoration just in time for Halloween. Add a tea light or can...

The Best Plant Based on Your Zodiac Sign

If you’re into astrology, you know that each zodiac sign has a very distinct personality and set of needs. So, wouldn’t each sign have a very diff...

How To Mount a Staghorn Fern or Other Epiphyte

Learn how to mount a Staghorn Fern, Bird’s Nest Fern, or your favorite epiphytic houseplant with this step-by-step guide. 

Top 5 Plants for Your Home Office

Make your workspace a little less grey and a little more green with some new desk mates! Plants are a fun and easy way to weave nature’s restorativ...

How-To DIY a Preserved Moss Wall

Add greenery to your space without maintenance or care by creating a preserved moss wall. The colors and textures of the moss wall can bring biophi...

How To Design Your Dream Space with Design Within Reach

Creating an inviting space that works for both family and work can be challenging, so when The Sill’s founder & CEO Eliza Blank had to do just...

Cut Florals Tips & Tricks from Poppy Flowers

Easy tips and tricks for prolonging the life of your cut flowers from fellow nature lovers and floral experts Poppy Flowers.  When you feel a littl...

The Biggest Plant Trends of 2021 So Far

The year 2020 taught us the importance of cultivating the spaces we inhabit: our homes, our offices, our home offices. One essential in enhancing t...

The Plant You Need Based on Your Astrological Sign

A plant related to your zodiac sign is said to bring good fortune and luck into your life. Follow on to find your plant counterpart based on your ...

Best Unexpected Gifts for Your Favorite Plant Parent

If you’re looking for something different to get your favorite plant parent this year, we’ve got you covered with help from MeUndies. Imagine this...

How to Decorate Your Norfolk Island Pine Tree

We’re sharing decorating inspiration to help you transform your Norfolk Island Pine houseplant into a cheerful holiday tree, or live Christmas Tree...

The Best Gifts for Every Person in Your Life

No matter what the occasion might be, we have a plant for every person in your life and on your list.  Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, or jus...

Faux-Ever: How To Set Up Your Faux Plant

Now that your faux plant has arrived, here’s how to style it and make it a timeless piece in your home. To all the plant parents who can’t stand to...

12 Ways to Reframe + Refresh Your Home For Fall

Sweater weather is on its way, and we’re getting ready to make our homes cozier than ever by pairing plants and photos. Fall is upon us, and our w...

7 Ways to Bring Cottagecore to Life in Your Home

As we look to spend more and more time inside, here’s how you can bring the popular TikTok trend to your space. Picture it: you’re adding some fres...

How To Bring the Biggest Spring Home Decor Trend Into Your Home

Spring means taking fresh interior trends to the next level, especially when it comes to freshening up your space. Here’s how we're helping to bri...

Q&A with Interior Designer Anita Yokota

In this Q&A, we hear from therapist turned interior designer Anita Yokota, best known for her creative, yet functional designs on Instagram.

Four Ways to Style a Faux Monstera Frond

With the introduction of our faux line comes clever approaches for styling the fan-favorite frond.

How To: Styling with Real and Faux Plants

There are no hard rules when it comes to styling the real-deals with the faux, only a million possibilities.

The Top 10 Reasons to Go Faux

Sometimes, it’s okay to fake it. Read on for a round-up of the leading reasons you should be incorporating artificial plants into your life.

Plants By Room: Low Light Plants at Home

Floor-to-ceiling south-facing windows with lots of sunlight. Sounds nice, right? But if your place does not have these features, read on to find ou...

Plants By Room: Bathroom Plants

Plants can instantly beautify and energize a space, boost your mood, reduce your stress levels, bring you tranquility, produce oxygen, and naturall...

Fine Vines: Trellising & Pruning Basics

Plants with vining or trailing habits will grow really large with proper care over time, but when our plants are vining or trailing out of control,...

It’s A Small, Plant World: Terrariums

Terrariums — chic glass vessels that house tiny plant worlds. You’ve seen them dangling delicately in groups or hanging out on window sills. But if...