What if you have a large monstera and you want to make a fuller plant. Or you just want to share plantbabies with your friends?
You can propagate your monstera by making cuttings.
What types of cuttings are there?
There are 2 types of cuttings:
- Top cuttings. If you cut off the top of a plant, that makes for a top cutting. This cutting will root if all goes well, and the plant will just continue to grow.
- Stem cuttings. These are the cuttings you take under the top cutting. These cuttings will make a whole new plant from the growth point after it has rooted.(or sometimes the new plant emerges already before you have established roots.
Ready for the cut?
The first step is to pick the plant you want to propagate. The best is to take a cutting from a healthy thriving plant.
You will not lose the original plant if you make cuttings. The plant will activate a growth point (sometimes several) lower on the stem and it will continue growing from there.
Each cutting should contain a growth point and if your plant has aerial roots, your cutting will start rooting and growing faster if you include an aerial root.
You can identify the growth point as a small bump (see picture below) on the stem. Make sure that every cutting you make has one of these. Also the top cutting should have one as otherwise it will not establish a root system.
We don’t use the word node which is often used to describe the point where new growth will occur. The node is in fact where the petiole of the leaf meets the stem. You can find the growth point close to the node. The growth point is also often referred to as the axillary bud.
Make the cutting in between 2 nodes. The general advice is to cut right under the node, but this meanscutting close to the growth point. If your cuttings starts rotting, you will lose the growth point.
Pro tip: If you leave some extra stem on both ends, you can still cut off part of the stem if it would start to rot.
Make sure to only cut with clean and very sharp pruning shears.
To avoid rot we advice to let the cutting dry for about 12 hours before putting it in water. You can also rub some cinnamon on the ends straight after cutting as it act as a natural disinfectant.
We advice to root your cuttings in water. If you want you can add some hydrogen peroxide against rot and some willow branches as they contain a lot of growth hormones, which will promote root growth.
Don’t use too much water as this will dillute the growth hormone concentration. To contain the growth hormones in the water we advice against refreshing the water. For the same reason it’s best to put several cuttings together.
The bigger the leaf on the stem cutting, the more energy the cutting will have to put into maintaining that leaf. It helps to reduce the size of the leaf on the stem by cutting it horizontally in half or even smaller. The cutting will grow a new plant anyway, so the cutting leaf is of no importance in the futute.
When you see between 5 to 10 centimeters of fresh roots, it’s time to transfer the cutting from water to soil. Don’t worry if it takes months to get there, if the cutting has not rotted and there is a growth point, it will start growing.
If the ends of your cutting are getting brown or black, check if the dark parts are squishy. If this is the case, it’s best to cut off the dark part, rub cinnamon, let it dry for a couple of hours and put it back in the water.
When you pot the cutting, use a well-draining soil mix in a small pot to avoid root rot. Do not bury the cutting too deep, and try to keep the growth point above the soil.
Water thoroughly and cover the pot with the cutting with a plastic bag in order to create a microclimate with high humidity.
Once you see the first signs of new growth, you can take the plastic bag off. Again it can take several months before anything start happening. Don't worry this just means that all the energy is going into growing the root system.
The best time of the year to take cuttings is during the growth season (spring-summer). Cuttings that you make towards the end of the growing season might go dormant in autumn and winter, and asks for even more patience 😉