One of the most asked-about plant topics on my Instagram (after “how do I keep my houseplant alive?!”) is propagation. If you’ve managed to keep a plant happy and healthy for a while now, you might be wondering how you can harvest a few plant babies from it and add to your houseplant collection. Growing a new ‘baby’ plant from your original ‘mother’ plant using a leaf or a cutting is called propagation. The process is different for different types of plants, so don’t assume that a method that works for one plant will work for another, but for most plant species it’s surprisingly simple to grow more plants. Propagating my houseplants gives me a real sense of achievement – I genuinely feel proud of the plant babies that have now grown into larger houseplants. Plus, once you’ve got the houseplant bug it can get pretty expensive – so why not create a few new free houseplants from the ones you already have! You can also of course sell the plant babies on, or give them as gifts to family and friends.
This post will explain in detail how to propagate a Monstera Deliciosa plant, also sometimes known as a Swiss Cheese Plant. These plants can grow into huge beautiful creatures and are really, really easy to propagate. From my original mother plant which I’ve now had for about 2.5 years I’ve created over 10 healthy new plants – who are all big enough now to have their own baby Monstera plants.
Caring for a Monstera Deliciosa
To propagate successfully you need a healthy mother plant, so make sure you are caring for yours properly before you get started. Monstera are jungle plants and prefer humid conditions so consider spraying them with water often, especially in the warmer months. I like to take mine into the bath every few weeks where possible and give them a really good rinse and water with the shower. Their giant leaves can get dusty so it’s great to give them a wash or a wipe often too. As always your plants need to be in pots with really good drainage. Water once the top few cms of the soil feel dry. Monstera are climbing plants, so you may find they need a moss pole or similar to provide support and help them grow as they get larger.
How to Propagate a Monstera
Once you’ve got a happy and healthy plant you can start to consider propagation. You will probably have noticed the wild roots that grow on Monstera plants – these are called aerial roots and these are what will grow new roots for your baby plant so pay attention to these. If you’re not looking to propagate, you can tuck any rogue aerial roots back into your plant pot.
To propagate you will need to take a cutting from your mother plant, and it’s essential that this cutting has an aerial root node which will either look like a long root if its an older plant, or a little bump on the plant’s stem. Take a look at the picture below to see the node I mean. You want to make your cut below this node, as your new plants roots will grow from here.
Make one cut using a sharp knife or scissors (make sure they are clean). The wound left on your mother plant will dry out and harden. Once you’ve taken your cutting/s you’ll need to place them in a large jar or vase of water and pop them onto a windowsill so they get plenty of sunlight.
Patience is the most important thing now – you’ll be waiting several weeks before you see decent roots starting to form. Your cutting will be fine in the water for a long time – I’ve left mine for many, many months when life has been a bit too busy to get around to the next step. Once you’ve got a decent root system on your cutting you can go ahead and plant in a pot with really good drainage (I use houseplant compost and a small amount of perlite usually) and give it a good water. Then voila – a whole new houseplant to enjoy! Over time your new plant will grow into a beautiful mature adult plant, and you can care for it just like you would a normal Monstera. Eventually you’ll be able to propagate this one too.
Super simple, easy to do and very little can go wrong as long as you’ve got the root node, so why not give it a go!?