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Houseplant propagation guides

How to seal the ends of a houseplant cutting

by Plants for all Seasons 07 Mar 2023

Sealing the cut ends of houseplant cuttings is a common practice that can help prevent moisture loss and encourage rooting. When a stem or leaf is cut from a plant, it creates an open wound that can allow moisture to escape and bacteria or fungi to enter, which can hinder rooting and cause the cutting to fail. Sealing the cut ends can help to prevent this from happening. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to seal the cut ends of houseplant cuttings:

  1. Take your cutting: Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or a knife to take a cutting from the parent plant. Make sure the cutting is at least 4-6 inches long and has at least one or two leaves on it.

  2. Trim the cutting: Remove any leaves or branches from the bottom one-third to one-half of the cutting. This will ensure that the cutting is getting the maximum amount of nutrients to promote rooting.

  3. Apply rooting hormone: If desired, dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone to promote root growth.

  4. Seal the cut ends: Immediately after taking the cutting, dip the cut end in melted candle wax or paraffin. This will create a seal that helps to prevent moisture loss and bacteria from entering the cutting. Be careful not to let the wax drip onto the leaves or stem of the cutting.

  5. Plant the cutting: Place the cutting in a rooting medium such as vermiculite, perlite, or water. Make sure that at least one node is covered by the rooting medium. Gently press the medium around the stem to hold it in place.

  6. Monitor the cutting: Check the cutting regularly to make sure that the rooting medium remains moist and that the wax seal is still in place. If the medium becomes dry, mist it with water or add more water to the container.

  7. Remove the wax seal: Once roots have developed and the cutting has been successfully propagated, you can remove the wax seal. Gently scrape away the wax with a clean, sharp knife or scissors, being careful not to damage the roots or the stem of the new plant.

Sealing the cut ends of houseplant cuttings can be an effective way to prevent moisture loss and encourage rooting. However, it's important to use clean, sharp tools to prevent damaging the cutting or introducing bacteria or fungi. With patience and care, you can successfully propagate your houseplants and enjoy the satisfaction of watching them grow and thrive.

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