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Houseplant propagation guides

What is a node and why is it important?

by Plants for all Seasons 15 Mar 2023

A node is a critical part of a houseplant's anatomy where new growth, such as leaves, stems, and buds, originates. Nodes are slightly raised or swollen areas found along the stem, usually where a leaf is or was attached. In some plants, nodes might be less conspicuous, appearing as slight bumps or ridges on the stem.

Nodes are important for several reasons:

  1. New growth: Nodes are the points from which new leaves, branches, or aerial roots emerge. They contain specialized cells called meristematic cells that have the potential to differentiate into various plant tissues. This makes nodes the primary source of plant growth and branching.

  2. Propagation: Nodes are crucial in plant propagation, particularly when using stem cuttings. When taking a cutting, it's essential to include at least one node (preferably two or more) to increase the likelihood of successful rooting. The nodes contain the necessary cells for developing new roots and shoots, allowing the cutting to grow into a new plant.

  3. Pruning and maintenance: Understanding where nodes are located on a houseplant can help you prune and maintain your plants more effectively. When pruning, making a cut just above a node encourages new branching and growth. This helps you shape your plant and promote bushier growth.

  4. Dormant buds: Nodes often contain dormant buds that can be activated when the main stem is damaged or pruned. These buds can generate new growth to replace the removed or damaged parts, ensuring the plant's ability to continue growing.

Overall, nodes are essential to houseplants because they play a critical role in growth, maintenance, and propagation. By understanding their function and location, you can better care for your houseplants and ensure healthy growth.

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