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Houseplant propagation guides

How to propagate houseplants in vermiculite

by Plants for all Seasons 07 Mar 2023

Propagating a houseplant cutting in vermiculite is another alternative method to propagate a houseplant. This method works well for plants that prefer a soil mix that retains moisture but also drains well. Here are the detailed steps to propagate a houseplant cutting in vermiculite:

  1. Choose a healthy stem: Select a healthy stem from the parent plant that is at least 4-6 inches long and has several leaves on it. Choose a stem that is free from disease or damage and is growing vigorously.

  2. Prepare the cutting: Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to cut the stem just below a node, which is where the leaf attaches to the stem. The cutting should be at least 4-6 inches long, and it should have at least one or two leaves attached to the top of the stem. Remove the leaves from the bottom one-third to one-half of the stem.

  3. Prepare the vermiculite: Fill a small container, such as a plastic cup or pot, with vermiculite. Vermiculite is a lightweight, sterile material that provides good aeration and moisture retention for the cutting. Moisten the vermiculite with water, but do not saturate it.

  4. Plant the cutting: Make a small hole in the center of the vermiculite using a pencil or your finger. Insert the bottom of the cutting into the hole, making sure that at least one node is covered by the vermiculite. Gently press the vermiculite around the stem to hold it in place.

  5. Provide the right environment: Place the container in a bright, warm location, but out of direct sunlight. Cover the cutting and container with a plastic bag or clear plastic wrap to create a humid environment. This will help the cutting to establish itself and promote root growth.

  6. Wait for roots to grow: Roots should begin to grow in 2-4 weeks. You may notice small bumps or nodules appearing on the stem, which are the beginning of root growth.

  7. Transplant the cutting: Once the roots are at least an inch long, you can transplant the cutting into soil. Choose a small pot with well-draining soil, and make a small hole in the center. Gently remove the cutting from the vermiculite, being careful not to damage the delicate roots. Place the cutting into the soil and gently press the soil around the stem.

  8. Care for the new plant: Water the new plant thoroughly, and place it in a bright, warm location, but out of direct sunlight. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged. With proper care, your new plant should grow and thrive!

Propagating a houseplant cutting in vermiculite is a great way to create new plants and expand your collection. This method can be particularly effective for plants that prefer a soil mix that retains moisture but also drains well, such as African violets and begonias. With a little patience and care, you can enjoy the satisfaction of watching your cutting grow and develop into a healthy, thriving plant.

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