How To Do Water Propagation

Source: @ studioplants

Source: @studioplants

This is the vessel that I keep my stem cuttings to propagate. Unfortunately this particular model is discontinued, but I've seen Ikea hacks using their RIMFORSA containers, and you can use test tubes as well. But really, just about any jar or water-proof container will work. Clear glass is usually favoured mostly for aesthetics and curiousty: it's fun to watch the roots form.


Taking the Cuttings

You can see a demo of me taking cuttings and potting rooted cuttings in this video.

❶ I take the cutting by snipping at a node (where the leaf meets the stem) mainly to keep the plant ends tidy. I take at minimum a cutting with 3-4 leaves. Feel free to take multiple cuttings from a single long vine.

❷ Remove the bottom leaf while keeping 1-2 top leaves. The bare lower nodes is what you'll submerge into water. When possible, I like to have 2 bottom nodes as it increases the amount of roots.

The reason only 1-2 top leaves are necessary is because it allows adequate photosynthesis for new root growth without zapping energy from the cutting to sustain existing leaves. You can even cut the leaves in half if they're particularly large.

❸  Submerge cutting, making sure bottom nodes are under water. Patiently wait until the roots are about 1" and that you've got plenty. This is mainly because when transferring from water to soil, many roots will die in transition.

Fresh cuttings placed directly in water

Fresh cuttings placed directly in water

Roots forming, several weeks later

Roots forming, several weeks later

FrequentLY ASKED Questions


Bright indirect, usually multiple feet away from a south-facing window.

Time to form Roots:

It really depends on several factors, but expect to wait 3-4 weeks.

water TO use?:

Just regular tap water. I don't add fertilizer at this stage.

Changing the water:

I change the water when it gets murky, or every week day if I'm diligent.

Potting Up The Cuttings

Water roots vs. Soil Roots

The roots that are developed in water are different then the ones developed in soil. With water propagation, when you eventually pot them in soil, the "water roots" you initially grew have to converted to "soil roots". Because water roots are fragile, many die off during the process, so it's best to introduce soil gradually.


Acclimating to Soil

You can simply pot directly into an all-purpose potting mix and hope for the best, or you can acclimate it slowly. Make a 50:50 mixture of water and soil and place the cutting within. Increase with small amounts of soil daily until you've got an average potting mix.


My cutting is wilting after repotting in soil?

If you've gone from from water to straight soil without acclimating it, as the roots adjusts to the soil it my not be able to intake adequate moisture. This causes wilt. Sometimes just waiting it out is all you need to do but you can also place a humidity dome to help.

“Tarvia” propagation station by  PlantCircle

“Tarvia” propagation station by PlantCircle

“Barcelona” propagation station by  PlantCircle

“Barcelona” propagation station by PlantCircle


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