Propagating Houseplants

Care and How To

Growing houseplants is a popular hobby.  Growing plants indoors creates calm, welcoming, and beautiful spaces. When houseplants get large or more plants are desired, many can be easily propagated.
Propagation is the creation or growing of new plants.  Propagating houseplants doesn't have to be intimidating.  Many species easily propagate at home utilizing techniques like cuttings, division, and layering. Propagating African violets

Use the information below to produce more plants to give to friends or create your own indoor jungle!

|  Why Propagate?  |
|  When to Propagate  |
Methods of Propagation  |
Easiest Houseplants to Propagate  |
Best Propagation Method by Species  |
More Information  |

Why Propagate Houseplants?

Propagating your own houseplants can be a fun and even meditative process that allows you to grow your own houseplant collection.  The propagules created can be gifted to friends or donated to community plant sales or non-profit organizations.  

Propagation can also help improve the appearance of the plant.  Over time houseplants can become leggy, misshapen, lopsided, or too large.  Propagating can help tame an unruly plant (and you get more plants out of the process)!

When to Propagate Houseplants?

Most houseplants can be propagated at any time of the year, but spring and summer tend to be the best times for the health of both the propagules and the parent plant.  

Only propagate from healthy, vigorously growing plants.  Do not propagate from houseplants that:

  • have disease or insect pest problems
  • show signs of viruses (such as mottled leaves and weak growth)
  • do not have vigorous growth

It is easy to pass along diseases, pests, and viruses when propagating so starting with healthy plants is essential.

Methods of Propagation for Houseplants

There are many ways to propagate plants and they are divided into two major categories: sexual and asexual, also called vegetative.  

Sexual Propagation - Seed

Sexual propagation is the creation of new plants by seed.  The production of seed requires flowers to be pollinated.  This process is the recombination of genetic material from both parent plants to produce a new seed that is genetically similar to the parents but not identical.  Hybrids are produced via seed propagation.  

Houseplants rarely flower, and even when they do, there is no mechanism indoors (such as insect pollinators or wind) to pollinate the flowers to then produce fruit and seed.  For this reason, propagating houseplants sexually through seed production is impractical and rarely done.

Asexual Propagation - also called Vegetative Propagation

Asexual propagation utilizes vegetative parts of the plants (roots, stems, leaves, etc.) and causes them to regenerate into a new plant by growing adventitious roots and/or sprouting new shoots.  The new plant is genetically identical (clone) to the parent plant.  There are many different forms of asexual or vegetative propagation, including cuttings, layering, grafting, tissue culture (aka micropropagation), and division. 

Which Method do you Use?

The method of propagation used depends on several factors and each species of plant has a method that is more successfully used than others.  Some houseplant species, like pothos and English ivy, have stems that can be cut off and easily be rooted.  Others, like African violet, have a growth habit that makes them propagate better by utilizing the leaves rather than a section of stem. 

The most common forms of houseplant propagation used by home gardeners are Division, Cuttings, and Layering. More information about propagating houseplants utilizing several common propagation techniques can be found in the links below.

Division & Offsets

Dividing a Palm houseplant Photo by Adobe Stock

(Stem Tip, Cane, Leaf Petiole, Leaf Vein, and Leaf Section)

Cuttings for houseplant Photo by Adobe Stock

(Air Layering & Simple Layering)

Air Layering Houseplant Photo by Adobe Stock

Propagating Succulents
(Propagating this group of plants has some special considerations)

Succulents being divided Photo by Adobe Stock

Easy Houseplants to Propagate

While most houseplants are straightforward when it comes to propagating, a few are very easy!  Start your propagation hobby with these species for the most success.

  • Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Sansevieria, Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata syn: Sansevieria trifasciata)
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Zz Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
  • Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperiomoides)
  • Tradescantia, Inch plant (Tradescantia spp.)
  • Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum)
  • Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
  • Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Mother Of Thousands (Bryophyllum daigremontianum)
  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Coleus (Coleus scutellarioides)
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)

Best Propagation Method by Species

Best Propagation Method for Foliage Plants by Species

  Leaf Cuttings Stem Cuttings Layering Division Offsets/ Plantlets 
Acalypha wilkesiana (Copperleaf)   *      
Aglaonema species (Chinese Evergreen)     * *  
Aphelandra squarrosa (Zebra Plant)   *      
Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine)   *  *    
Asparagus densiflorus (Asparagus Fern)       *  
Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant)       *  
Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm)         *
Begonia masoniana, B. rex (Iron Cross Begonia, Rex Begonia) *     *  
Calathea makoyana, C. ornata (Peacock Plant)       *  
Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant)     * *
Cissus rhombifolia (Grape Ivy)   *  *    
Codiaeum variegatum (Croton)   *  *    
Coleus scutellarioides syn: Solenostemon, Plectranthus (Coleus)   *      
Dieffenbachia species (Dumb Cane)   *      
Dizygotheca elegantissima (Falese Aralia)   *  *    
Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’ (Striped Dracaena)   * *    
Dracaena fragrans (Corn Plant)   * *    
Dracaena marginata (Dragon Tree)   * *    
Dracaena trifasciata, syn: Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law's Tongue) *     *  
Epipremnum aureum (Devil's Ivy, Pothos)   *  *    
Asplenium nidus (Bird's Nest Fern)       *  
Cyrtomium falcatum (Holly Fern)       *  
Nephrolepis species (Boston Fern)       *  
Pteris species (Spider Fern)       *  
Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig)   * *    
Ficus elastica (Rubber Tree)   * *    
Ficus lyrata (Fiddleleaf Fig)   * *    
Fittonia verschaffeltii var. argyroneura (White Nerve Plant)   *      
Fittonia verschaffeltii var. pearcei  (Red Nerve Plant)   *      
Hedera helix (English Ivy)   *  *    
Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)       *  
Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)   * *    
Caryota mitis (Fishtail Palm)        *  
Chamaedorea elegans (Parlor Palm)        *  
Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm)         *  
Rhapis excelsa (Lady Palm)        *  
Peperomia species (Peperomia) *        
Philodendron bipennifolium (Fiddleleaf Philodendron)   *  *    
Philodendron hederaceum (Heartleaf Philodendron)   *  *    
Philodendron selloum syn. Thaumatophyllum (Lacy Tree Philodendron)    *   *  
Pilea cadierei  & Pilea microphylla (Aluminum Plant, Artillery Plant)   *      
Pilea peperiomoides (Chinese Money Plant)   *     *
Plectranthus australis (Swedish Ivy)   *  *    
Rhoeo spathacea (Moses-in-the-Cradle)         *
Schefflera actinophylla (Umbrella Tree)   *  *    
Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Schefflera)   *  *    
Senecio mikanioides (German Ivy)   *  *    
Strobilanthes dyeranus (Persian Shield)   *      
Syngonium podophyllum (Arrowhead Vine, Nephthytis)   *  *    
Tradescantia species, Zebrina species (Inch plant, Wandering Dude, Tradescantia)   *  *    
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Zz Plant) * *   *  

Best Propagation Method for Flowering Plants by Species

  Leaf Cuttings Stem Cuttings Layering Division Offsets/ Plantlets 
Annuals from the garden (Impatiens, Pelargonium, Lantana, Fuschia, Begonia)   *   *  
Anthurium species (Flamingo Flower)       *  
Begonia coccinea & B. lucerna (Angel Wing Begonia)   * *    
Bromeliads (Aechmea, Guzmania, Neoregelia, Vriesea)         *
Citrus species (Citrus)   *      
Clivia miniata (Clivia)       *  
Columnea species (Goldfish Plant)   *      
Episcia species (Flame Violet)   *  *    
Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)   *      
Hibiscus species (Hibiscus)   *      
Hippeastrum species (Amaryllis)       *  
Hoya carnosa (Wax Vine)   *  *    
Cattleya species (Corsage Orchid)       * *
Phalaenopsis species (Moth Orchid)       * *
Pachystachys lutea (Golden Shrimp Plant)   *      
Rosa species (Miniature Rose)   *      
Saintpaulia species (African Violet) *     *  
Schlumbergera species (Holiday Cactus)   *      
Sinningia speciosa (Gloxinia) *        
Spathiphyllum species (Peace Lily)       *  
Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise)       *  
Streptocarpus hybrida, S. saxorum (Cape Primrose, False African Violet) * *      
Zantedeschia species (Calla)   *      

Best Propagation Method for Succulents by Species

  Leaf Cuttings Stem Cuttings Layering Division Offsets/ Plantlets 
Adenium species (Desert Rose)   *      
Aeonium species (Pinwheel Desert Rose)   *      
Agave americana (Century Plant)         *
Aloe species (Aloe)       *  
Bryophyllum daigremontianum (Mother of Thousands)           *
Cephalocereus senilis (Old Man Cactus)   *      
Crassula argentea (Jade Plant) * *      
Echeveria (Echeveria)   *      
Echinocactus grusonii (Barrel Cactus)   *      
Epiphyllum species (Orchid Cactus)   *      
Euphorbia lactea (Candelabra Plant)   *      
Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Cactus)   *      
Graptopetalum (Ghost Plant) * *      
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii friedrichii (Grafted cactus)          *
Haworthia species (Haworthia)       *  
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (Kalanchoe)   *      
Lithops species (Living Stones)         *
Opuntia species (Bunny Ears, Prickly Pear)   *      
Pachyphytum species (Moonstones) * *      
Sedum species (Sedum)   *      
Sempervivum species (Hen and Chicks)         *
Senecio rowleyanus (String of Pearls)   *      

More Information

Last Reviewed: 
December, 2022